How to Start Fundraising for a New Nonprofit

How to Start Fundraising for a New Nonprofit

We can all agree that fundraising is difficult, but when you are a new nonprofit, it is even harder.

Donors want to see successful outcomes before they invest their hard-earned money in your organization. Without an established brand or community awareness, you might struggle to raise the funds you need as a start-up nonprofit.

There are several measures you can take to boost your potential success for fundraising. To raise the money and support you need as a new organization, try the following strategies:

  1. Plan your fundraising strategy in advance.
  2. Get your paperwork in order.
  3. Write your strategic plan.
  4. Start your program.
  5. Set up your website.
  6. Create a compelling case for support.
  7. Host a kickoff launch event.
  1. Plan your fundraising strategy in advance

Fundraising is critical for nonprofit organizations. Your business plan needs to detail your key fundraising. It must include a diverse source of funding. Diversification of funds is key. Funds can come from individuals, grants, earned income, and corporate. It is important to know that 80% of nonprofit funding comes from individuals so particular importance needs to be paid to this part.

There are 4 types of individual funds — One-time gifts, recurring gifts, a donor-advised fund (community foundation), and major gifts.

  1. Get your paperwork in order

In some states, you can start fundraising before you secure your IRS determination letter. But you need to check with your state agency to ensure you are following their requirements, before soliciting contributions. In 40 out of 50 states you must register to fundraise by completing a charitable solicitation license each year.

  1. Write your strategic plan

The process of creating a strategic plan focuses on the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. But most importantly, the strategic planning process creates a sense of forward momentum. It encourages the board and staff to foresee the future they seek for their organization and develop a plan that is optimistic.

Strategic planning can provide enormous benefits. It brings clarity and agreement on mission and vision, helps your organization prepare for the future, helps your organization anticipate and manage change, improve the decision-making processes, align the board and staff, and identify existing strengths in the organization.

  1. Start your program

As a new nonprofit you must show proof of concept. You must gather stories and data that provide evidence that your program works and have the desired impact. This proof will be important for raising funding.

  1. Set up your website

Websites play a key role in promoting your nonprofit organization. Nonprofit websites are perfect tools for social sharing and brand discovery. This allows your nonprofit access to potential advocates, volunteers, and donors.

Your website can help tell your story in a visual, contextual, and emotional way–helping to win the hearts and minds of potential donors and supporters. The donation button must be big and easy to find. If people can’t find where to donate on your website within a few seconds, they may become frustrated and give up.

That’s is why it’s important to make these buttons visible on every page on your website, preferably in the header.

  1. Create a compelling case for support

A case statement or case for support is a compelling statement demonstrating the needs of your clientele in your community, how your organization’s programs impact that need, and the results you achieve. It is specific to your community and your organization. It focuses on local needs and shares tangible outcomes.

A case for support is not just for capital campaigns. It can be used to secure major gifts that can provide unrestricted dollars.

An effective case for support can excite, compel, and inspire your donors to dream big and raise their philanthropic sights. At its core, the case for support should show how the donor can be the hero in transforming his or her community by making a philanthropic investment.

It is the guiding document for all fundraising. When you are doing your annual report look at the case for support. When you plan a fundraising event look at the case for support. Adapt pieces of it to your website around the giving pages or anywhere else you think it will help people better understand why their donations are needed and what they will accomplish when they give them to you.

  1. Host a kickoff launch event

Get the word out about your nonprofit and raise necessary seed funding by throwing a kickoff event. This will allow you to connect with people you wouldn’t normally cross paths with otherwise.

People who wouldn’t outright donate $50 to your nonprofit might be more interested in a $50 ticket to an exclusive launch event. When planning your launch event consider selling tickets and providing heavy appetizers with wine and water. Pick the venue wisely. You can hold the event at an exclusive restaurant, in a rented venue, or in a generous board member’s home. The launch party should be no longer than 2 hours. It should be short, sweet, and to the point.

Be sure to make use of any social media platforms of your nonprofit to make announcements about your launch event. Rely on your existing support base to include your board members, family, and friends to spread the word by sharing your announcement on their social media.

If your launch event is a major success, consider making it an annual tradition. Just remember to cultivate all those who attended your event.

Fundraising can be intimidating, especially when you are new to the nonprofit world. Utilizing these strategies can help you establish a strong fundraising system.

I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments. Sharing is Caring.

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