What's Driving Your Fundraising?
One of the most often overlooked aspects of fundraising is the imperative to focus efforts on fundraising activities that can grow revenue incrementally without growing expenses at the same rate. Successful efforts will directly impact Step 4.
Scalability results from concentrating on the most productive donor segments, along with growing channels of donor recruitment. Also, fundraisers need to create offers that are engaging to prospective donors as well as be broad enough to ensure funds will not be designated too narrowly.
A Tandon Institute client in Southern California had no clear strategy to expand its donor base beyond the immediate geographic community, and its focus was almost exclusively on major donors. The organization now is developing and solidifying an “ambassador” program to engage midlevel and mass donors and scaling up its marketing through both traditional and social media.
Over the past decade, donors, journalists, watchdog groups and government regulators have grown increasingly discerning and, in some cases, cynical about charities’ overhead rates. While the demonstrated value of an organization’s impact is a much truer indication of effectiveness, the reality is that costs associated with fundraising and administration represent a defining issue all nonprofit leaders must address.
For example, nonprofits that accept gifts-in-kind must monitor those products’ valuations and their impact on overhead and reporting. This has been an area of government scrutiny for nongovernmental organizations in recent months. Investigations of NGOs often make headlines and do little to instill confidence among prospective donors. One strategy to mitigate criticism is ensuring your organization meets or exceeds standards of excellence or ratings of the Better Business Bureau and others.
S7: Size of Opportunity
A foundational element of successful, long-term, scalable funding opportunities is a comprehensive analysis of market potential. Drill past the veneer of annual budgets, and look ahead two to three years. If needed, seek expert counsel to examine the potential to attract new donors and the magnitude for revenue growth. Study market demands and market saturation. Any plans for programs to meet the organization’s mission must include commensurate plans for resources to ensure donors’ promises and expectations are fulfilled. And, of course, plan for the unexpected, whether the agency is trying to meet needs in inner-city Detroit or the slums of Delhi.