Nonprofits exist to serve a greater good and help both individuals and entire communities. But giving and receiving help are two different matters, and it’s no surprise that many charities find the latter a challenge. If you’re unsure where to begin when it comes to soliciting donations or just need a few new ideas, learn about how to get charity donations below.
Who should you target?
When it comes to donations for nonprofit organizations, your fundraising strategy should encompass three main types of donors: individuals, private foundations, and corporations. Each group is unique and brings different ideas, strengths, contributions to your organization.
Individuals accounted for 70% of all charitable giving in 2017, according to a report by Charity Navigator, which highlights the importance of reaching out to individuals.
What are the main methods individuals use to contribute to the nonprofit landscape?
- Online donations and peer-to-peer fundraising
- Charity galas and other fundraising events
- Specific fundraising drives and initiatives, like #GivingTuesday
- Recurring donations
From professional colleagues to old college friends, the pool of potential donors here is seemingly endless, especially when you consider tapping into extended networks. Begin with your own personal connections, then move outward to include acquaintances, friends of friends, and new supporters.
Private foundations exist to grant money to nonprofits, and are typically funded from a single source or family. To receive funding from private foundations, your nonprofit will need to apply for a grant by submitting an application.
Because these grants can be competitive, a grant writer can help navigate the complex application process and give you the best chance of securing funds. Once a nonprofit submits its application, a committee or board of directors will review it and follow up within three to six months.
There are thousands of companies that donate to nonprofits. Many larger corporations are eager to boost their corporate giving initiatives and brand awareness by lending a hand to the community. General Electric, for example, donated over $30 million in 2018 through its robust matching gifts program.
These are the main ways corporations contribute:
- In-kind donations: These are donations of goods or services instead of monetary donations.
- Volunteer grants: Businesses can donate a certain amount of money after employees volunteer a certain number of hours.
- Matching gifts: Businesses pledge to donate a certain amount for every specified amount employees donate.
Companies that give to charity can also provide more than just monetary support. They can help your nonprofit gain exposure in the community and recruit new volunteers.
Three tips to consider when asking for charity donations
At its core, asking for donations is about helping others take action to support causes they’re passionate about. When viewed in that light, the task of the “the ask” may not be as intimidating as you might think. Here are three tips to keep in mind when learning how to ask for charity donations:
1. Craft the perfect pitch
Whether you’re reaching out to supporters via email or you’re speaking to them face-to-face, a well-practiced pitch is critical to success.
Offer an explanation
While it might sound obvious, be sure to explain the reasoning behind your request. One study found that simply using the word “because” when making a request increased the compliance from 60 to 90%. In short, people need to understand the full picture and the impact their decision could potentially make before committing.
Open your ears
When you do less talking and more listening, you may discover new ways to connect with potential donors. While it’s important to state your mission and why you need support, asking questions that get potential donors talking can prove much more useful. Ask them what they’re most passionate about, and how they would change the world if they could. You can use their replies to find common ground.
And if you reach out to someone who isn’t interested in your nonprofit’s cause, always be sure to ask them if any of their friends or family members would be interested. If you start off by building a solid rapport, they will be more willing to refer you to others.
2. Experiment with outreach methods
As with anything, it’s smart to diversify. This applies to how you reach potential donors, too. There are advantages and disadvantages to cold calling versus face-to-face appeals, and the most successful plan for securing charity donations is one that includes numerous and diverse outreach methods. These are a few ideas:
- Online donations through peer-to-peer fundraising
- Emails campaigns
- Phone outreach
- Social media campaigns
- Community events
Work with staff and volunteers to implement a targeted strategy for each of these outreach methods, taking care to match those individuals with outreach opportunities that play to their passions and strengths.
3. Don’t forget about thank-you messages
Once you’ve made or sent out your fundraising appeal, it’s time to spread some gratitude—because everyone wants to feel appreciated after doing a good deed. By sending timely and personalized thank-you messages, you can encourage recurring giving and re-engage existing donors. Phone calls, emails, and public shout-outs on social media channels are just a few avenues you can use to recognize donors for their support.
Ready to start pulling in new donations?
Gaining new donors is critical for your nonprofit, and GoFundMe Charity can help you grow your donor base while streamlining your fundraising practices. With our free charity software, you can take advantage of peer-to-peer fundraising, which makes it easy for anyone to connect with your nonprofit and pull in donations. Our customizable reporting and analytics make it simple to manage and track donor data, while our team-based fundraising feature encourages supporters to rally around your cause. Sign up and claim your nonprofit without worrying about subscription costs or contracts, and start building or expanding your donor base today.