Using existing contributors to bolster nonprofit fundraising efforts

Using existing donors to help with fundraising can be an excellent strategy for nonprofits.
Date Published
12/08/2014

Nonprofit fundraising efforts take place in a variety of ways. In many instances, a 501(c)(3) organization will aggressively campaign for donations in order to help a specific group of people or an otherwise worthy cause. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways including using email, direct mail and social media.

However, there is another way for charitable groups to raise money:¬†Using their current supporters to raise awareness and draw attention to an organization in a way that encourages others to contribute financially. According to a report from REVUE Mid-Michigan, a child hunger organization, Kids’ Food Basket, successfully lobbied 40 of its social media constituents to help raise money to fund the organization’s “Nourish” campaign.

The uniqueness of this nonprofit fundraising event was that the constituents who took part were classified as social media influencers. This means that these individuals have massive followings on a given platform and leveraged their notoriety to help spread the word about the program while simultaneously shining a light on the problem that is childhood hunger.

“There is nothing simple or easy about childhood hunger but changing the world can be easy,” Bridget Clark Whitney, Kids’ Food Basket’s executive director told the newspaper. “We’ve created a model where everyone in the community is welcomed and empowered to make that change. Kids’ Food Basket is a community solution to a community problem. These are our children, in our community, who are in need of this service.”

The success of this campaign highlights the power of using financial contributors as a conduit for fundraising. However, in order for a campaign like this to be successful, there are a number of best practices that should be followed.

How to turn constituents into advocates
For 501(c)(3) groups to employ this kind of strategy, the first step in this process is to identify those who, on a regular basis, lend their financial support to an organization. This symbolizes that an individual is vested and believes in what the organization is doing. From there, nonprofit decision-makers should personally appeal to these individuals in order to gain their cooperation.

Once this has been established, InsightNews.com wrote that the first step in making financial supporters into fundraisers is to make sure that the gift they give can be seen by others. This is especially useful in campaigns that use the Internet or social media to draw in donations online.

For example, nonprofit sites that have been optimized to support funds received through electronic means, can send out a tweet or Facebook post to the members of the contributor’s social circles. This is done with the idea that these individuals can’t ask someone to make a donation if they haven’t made a gift themselves.

In addition, supporters should also be adequately trained in how to overcome rejections and offer rebuttals to any pushback received after making a donation appeal to others. These individuals should be armed with any necessary facts, data and statistics related to a particular campaign and the organization itself to ensure that those working in a fundraising capacity are effective in their methods.

Lastly, in order to make their jobs easier, Insight News wrote that those fundraising on behalf of an organization should ask for specific contribution amounts. This eliminates any confusion that a potential contributor may feel on how much money is either too much or not enough.

Nonprofit fundraising, in order to be effective, requires the use of outside the box thinking and innovative strategies. Certainly donor initiated nonprofit fundraising appeals aren’t new, but it could be something that an organization hasn’t thought about, but can yield tremendous rewards.

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