I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal the other day that underscored the concept that fundraising has become much more complicated, sophisticated and competitive. It spoke of how the Brooklyn Museum dissolved its Community Committee, which had been raising money for the museum since 1948, and moved all fundraising efforts to its Development Office so that they could be conducted by professionals rather than volunteers.
Gone are the days of solely raising money through raffles, luncheons, letter writing campaigns, and/or simply asking. While fundraising is no longer about a rolodex and charismatic personality, these time tested tools are still a part of the fundraising toolbox – just not the only tools. The good news is there are many wonderful ways organizations can keep pace with the ever evolving “give and get” economy of nonprofits and gain some new tools to help remodel their fundraising strategies.
Research the Strategies of Other Nonprofit Organizations
I have found that the nonprofit world is a generous sector that freely shares their efforts, strategies, and successes with other nonprofit organizations. Simply Google a topic and countless blogs, websites, and webinars will help you navigate this new world of nonprofit fundraising. Whether you are a small organization with a minimal infrastructure or a large nonprofit with special committees, you will find FREE valuable online resources at your disposal. You can learn about new ways to promote your events, such as through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even YouTube. Some nonprofits even display their annual financial statements on their websites so you can see how their efforts are fairing.
CSR as a Strategy for Your Nonprofit
And then there is the tool of the future: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As I mentioned in my last post, CSR should be an integral part of today’s nonprofit fundraising strategy. Gail Perry recently shared a noteworthy takeaway from the International Association of Fundraisers Conference in Vancouver – nonprofits must be open to for-profit business collaborations. As Gail points out, there are many legitimate companies looking for nonprofits to partner with, and more and more innovative for-profit business models popping up. Businesses know these partnerships are good for their branding. After all, 85% of Americans say they have a more positive opinion of a company when it supports a cause. Nonprofits need to take advantage of this new opportunity. The times are changing. Today it is not enough to seek donations; nonprofits need to find a partner who will help them survive. The time is perfect for incorporating CSR as part of any fundraising strategy.