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How to Raise Funds through Individual Donors

Updated on April 23, 2011

Raise Funds from Individuals

 If you need to raise money for your programs, special events, or projects, be sure to understand that the pickings are slim if you are going for government or corporate funds.  In case you have been absent or in a coma for the last few years, we have been in a major recession.  Some foundations and other grant-making entities are still supporting nonprofits and charities, but the dollars are not flowing the same or in the same directions that they used to before 9-11 and other charitable scandals.

So how can you fund a worthwhile project in this day and age without getting in line with all of the other grassroots, faith-based and community-based organizations? Differentiate yourself and your campaign by limiting your dependence on grant funding.  Raise funds from individuals.  Win hearts with passionate appeals and gain funds with persistent communications.  Touch an individual's soul and watch on as they find a way to support a worthy cause.

Get Donors Connected to Your Cause.

Simplify the Process

 Today's nonprofit organizations have numerous ways to raise funds both online and off line.  I suggest mixing both types of campaigns in order to capture the attention of the generation that is comfortable clicking and giving, while sharing with those who won't even step near a laptop or go on the Internet.  Make a broad appeal to a wide variety of people.

  • Donate Now: The button is affixed on nearly any and every website that seeks funds.  If you are not directing people to what is behind the button, don't expect them to click on it and give away funds just because it is there.  Share with them compelling reasons to give to your charity.
  • Fan Pages: Facebook fan pages allow donors to like and share your page in the context of community that many of us have come to call "social networking." Go viral with video uploads and twitter feeds that appeal to all ages.  Spread the word so that others will spread the wealth.
  • Pledge Forms: Conduct sign-ups at meetings and social events, gathering contact information for every pledge.  This works well with membership organizations like the PTA or Girl Scouts.  The form gives you a visual of the number of contributors and the amount of each contribution.

Accept different kinds of donations.  Vary the amount that you are asking as you draw nearer to your goal.  If you started out seeking pledges of one hundred dollars, drop down to fifty dollars when you are nearing the close of your campaign.  That may be more in some people's range.

Take advantage of seasonal timing.  Christmas and tax season are some of the best times to appeal to people.  During the Christmas holidays, people are in a giving spirit.  Prior to the tax deadline, individuals will give a donation in order to write it off on their taxes.  Be sure to gear up your campaigns around these times.  Also, use the post-tax season to ask family and friends to donate ten percent of their tax return to your charitable cause.  Send a postage-paid envelope with your request.  Make it easy for them to write the check and mail it back or donate online.

Share it with Others

 You have to make it something simple for the average person to do.  Your campaign will need to be shared with who you know.

Who do you know?

  • People who Care
  • People who Can Help
  • People who Cause Others to Help

Think about family and friends.  Look at the invitation list to your last Christmas or New Year's Eve party.  Check in with your old boss and co-workers.  Talk it up among the Soccer moms and Do-it-Yourself dads.  You know some folks.  Share it with those who you know.


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