One of the most stressful aspects of working for a nonprofit organization is fundraising.  In order to achieve nonprofit fundraising success without burning yourself out, we’ve compiled 10 simple and effective steps you can start implementing immediately.  

Your top 10 Secrets to Fundraising Success:

1. Make Optimism Mandatory

We know, easier said than done, but the more you encourage and exude optimism at work, the more productive you will be!  Plus, there’s the increased likelihood that your coworkers will pick up on that positivity and become more productive as a result.

Creative ideas and effective problem solving come much more easily from a positive attitude.  Not to mention the magnetic component of a happy environment that will help you attract supporters to your organization! Because let’s face it, no one likes a Debbie Downer.

Nonprofit Fundraising Success

Develop a Positivity Bias:  Practice looking for the good in every situation and every person.  Believe it or not, it does exist there, whether it be in small doses or more than expected.  You’ll never know if you don’t look for it! Seeking out things to be grateful for is a good place to start.

Be a Positive Force:   By taking the lead as an optimistic influence and choosing to see the positive in everyone and everything around you, you’ll be encouraging your fellow staff, board members, and even supporters to do the same.

Being Optimistic Doesn’t Mean Lying:  Don’t lie to yourself or those around you about negative setbacks or other things that could be considered disappointments; instead, try shifting your perspective from that of giving up or feeling defeated to moving forward and feeling empowered to do better than before.

2. Prioritize Integrity

Prioritizing integrity means committing to the highest standards of ethical behavior.  An organization that lacks integrity is bound to fall apart from the inside out and lose its following or community of support.

Being honest and transparent about where donation money is being spent is a major factor for donors when deciding where they’re going to provide their support.

3. Build Strong Relationships

Building strong relationships with your staff, board, and supporters means getting to know each one of them personally and showing genuine care for their general well-being (not just their ability to help out your organization).  A proven way to build stronger relationships is through acts of stewardship.

4. Learn from the Masters

If you see another nonprofit that’s doing exceptionally well with their fundraising efforts, ask them what their secret is!  The worst they can do is say no and at best you could learn something extremely valuable that you can implement in your own organization. You can also learn from them through their own success stories, like the ones we have available on our blog:  Nonprofit Champion Success Stories.

5. Improve Communication Skills

Go out of your way to find out who your supporters are, how they like to be reached out to or communicated with, and what inspires them to support your cause.

Really listen to what they have to say, respect their preferences, and delight them the best you can. You can do so by providing them with more information based on what they care about or what inspired them to support your cause in the first place.

When you improve your communication skills in this way, you’re also working toward strengthening and sustaining your relationships with the people holding your organization together.

6. Implement Storytelling

Turn incoming donations into people and causes by effectively showing the impact of the support you receive through your nonprofit storytelling efforts.

Be a “major gift educator” by continuing to learn and use new information to more effectively teach others about your cause, the impact of gifts, and other forms of support!

7. Be a Philanthropy and Finance Expert

Nonprofits often rely on philanthropy and incoming support, so it would be beneficial to invest some of your time and energy into knowing as much as you can about these areas.  A good place to start is becoming licensed to fundraise.

Even by simply staying updated on the latest news and data on these subjects will help empower your nonprofit and influence your important fundraising decisions.

8. Be More Detail-Oriented

Consider the consequences to all your fundraising efforts, big and small.  Pay attention to the results/data behind each initiative and then use what you learn from those details to continuously make improvements and see positive changes!

9. Improve Community Relationships

Develop stronger relationships with other nonprofits in your community!!  Nonprofits who collaborate with one another actually do better than those that don’t.

Consider participating in a Giving Day, a 24-hour fundraising event where nonprofits who share a community or cause rally together to spread awareness and collect donations.

10. Don’t Forget to Treat Yo’ Self

If you allow the stresses of work to overwhelm your life, you will inevitably grow to despise the work you do or feel burned out.  Make sure you’re treating yourself well and prioritizing work-life balance.

Start implementing these simple tips and you’re bound to see improvements to your fundraising efforts!

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