Regardless of your place in the nonprofit sector, so much of your work is dependent on adequate funding. Your volunteer program needs constant resources for recruiting, volunteer screening, onboarding and training. Your office needs supplies and staff. And, bottom line, your initiatives need funding in order to be successful. You need money for everything.
What does your organization do for funding? Is it enough? What do you do if – or when – you start to fall short?
If you’re struggling when it comes to your budget, you are not alone. Many nonprofit organizations have a hard time with fundraising and meeting the demand in their community for services. According to the Nonprofit Finance Fund, 56% of America's nonprofits can't meet demand. There are many contributing factors, but funding is certainly a key component.
The Fundraising Conundrum: What Are The Issues?
According to Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund, “The struggles non-profits face are not the short-term result of an economic cycle, they are the results of fundamental flaws in the way we finance social good.” This may be true, but various other elements impact the financial health of nonprofits.
A national study published by CompassPoint explores the many budget difficulties that face nonprofits. The study notes that “many nonprofits are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed.” What sends these nonprofits into this so-called vicious cycle?
Turnover – The health of any organization rests on its people. With high turnover and long-term openings in key positions, it can be difficult for an organization to stay afloat – much less raise extra funds.
Staffing – Filling vacant positions at high levels within any organization is always a struggle. It’s not so much about finding a candidate; it’s about finding the right candidate. If a poor selection is made, vital skills and abilities may still be lacking. According to the study, development director positions seem to be difficult for many nonprofits to fill.
Systems and Processes – Outside of maintaining quality staff and finding the right candidates to fill leadership positions, the correct processes and culture must be in place to ensure successful fundraising campaigns.
Check out the full study here.
Quick Wins: Fundraising Best Practices to Get You Started
In the last section, we saw that many nonprofits suffer from a lack of human resources that makes it difficult for anyone to focus on raising funds through campaigns and online efforts. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to stop. Even if you are experiencing high turnover, have limited staff, and do not have reliable systems in place, there are some quick things you can do to help you easily raise some funds.
Nonprofit Tech for Good published 10 Online Fundraising Best Practices with some of these great ‘quick win’ opportunities. Here are a few:
Donate Buttons – If you aren’t already set up to allow online donations through your website, that’s your first step! If you do already allow online donations, remember to prominently display this option on as many parts of your website as possible. The key word here is prominent – don’t hide these buttons away in the attic or garage of your website.
Calls to Action – The term ‘call to action’ refers to something on your website that encourages a user to engage with you (i.e. a donate button!). Ensure you are sending donors to a thank you page. On this page you should, of course, thank them. But remember to also tell them how else they can get involved with you.
For instance, do you need more volunteers? Do you want them to ‘share’ their donation via social media?
Demonstrate Impact – Show individuals exactly what their donation accomplished for the community. This carries a lot of weight. Individuals want to see that their donation, however big or small, made an impact. Consider creating marketing pieces or social media posts pointing to the specific impact that your initiatives have.
Have you mastered the fundraising game or are you still struggling? Tell us about it. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and share your comments below.