Thursday, August 15, 2013

5 Ideas for encouraging supporters to fundraise for you

There’s a rule of thirds in fundraising that says your fundraising campaign will receive one-third of donations from the top 10 donors; one-third of donations from the middle 100 donors; and one-third of donations from a lot of little micro-donations. For small organizations struggling to restore giving to pre-recession levels, attracting enough micro-donors to the cause can be time consuming, and left until the end of the campaign after the big donors are secured. The problem with putting off getting the micro-donations is that the last third of your fundraising goal often takes the longest to obtain.

Instead, create a fundraising strategy that starts with a firm plan for communicating the need for the smaller donations and mobilizing existing supporters to bring in the micro-donations while organization staff focuses on the upper two-thirds of the fundraising goal. HuTerra’s online fundraising platform makes it easy to create a fundraiser then have supporters create their own supporting fundraisers under it. Consider creating rolling campaigns that each last a month and have different themes. That way you’ll appeal to more people and keep the campaign going.

Thing is, even the most dedicated supporters need a little incentive to fundraiser for your organization. You can do this by offering incentives for the biggest fundraisers. This works well if you create a three month strategy where each month has a different fundraiser theme for supporters to fundraise under. Three months means you’ll need three prizes for the three top fundraisers. During the campaign, use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to cheer on your fundraising team. A little recognition goes a long way with supporters, and they’ll respond by working harder to spread your mission message and bring in more donors.

Here are five ideas for prizes that will get your supporters energized to fundraise for your cause:
  1. Ask local businesses to donate gift certificates. Lots of people will share Facebook posts to get donations if they might get a free massage out of it.
  2. Find out who in the organization, including regular volunteers and donors, is crafty and ask them to each donate an item.
  3. Use what you have around the office. The Fund for the Arts in Louisville, Kentucky ran a fundraising campaign where donors were entered into drawings to win random items out of the President and CEO’s office. Like many nonprofit leaders, Barbara Sexton Smith had accumulated a lot of mugs, shirts, and desk toys. People gave daily for chances to win random stuff, and her office got a good cleaning out. Win-win.
  4. Hold a luncheon for the top fundraisers. This doesn’t have to be expensive, just take the top three fundraisers to lunch along with some employees and people your organization helps. It will help your top fundraisers feel part of the organization and they’ll want to help again in the future.
  5. Crown them as your organization’s fundraising champions and feature them on your website and social media communities.
Finding incentives really can be as easy as getting into the old storage closet where your organization’s vintage event t-shirts have been long forgotten. Offer them up and ask supporters to help you fundraise. You’ll make progress on the one-third of your fundraising campaign that comes from micro-donations, while spreading the mission message and freeing staff up to bring in the top tier donors.