boring strategies work

Here are 3 boring, blue-collar, old-fashioned, dependable, back-to-basics fundraising strategies that will help generate income in a tough economy (and in any economy). They’re not glamorous. They’re not exciting. But they work and won’t require a huge investment of time or money.

boring-but-dependableThink about when your hot water heater dies the Friday night when your in-laws (and that brother-in-law who’s always looked down his nose at you) have just arrived to stay at your house. You’re looking for a dependable, basics, blue-collar get-things-done kind of solution, right? These strategies are as useful and dependable as that plumber who shows up at 11PM and has hot water flowing by midnight.

1. Restart your monthly donor program. If you’re like many nonprofits you have a monthly giving or pledge program. And maybe, like most, it hasn’t received a lot of attention from you. If donors are telling you that they are struggling to give, are you asking them if they would commit at a lower gift amount but on a monthly basis? With the explanation of how the monthly program saves you money, it can be a very attractive alternative for mid-level and even major donors who can’t write you the check they have in the past. Remember, they still want to give and you can give them a painless alternative that is good for everyone. Make sure the monthly gift option is part of your script any time a donor responds with news that they cannot give at the level they have in the past. This is a great tool for Major Donor reps too!

2. Make sure your website works. No brainer right? But as we visit nonprofit websites, we’re constantly amazed at how often links are broken or the content is dusty and out of date. A creaky website doesn’t inspire confidence in your donors. They’re using Amazon and other great e-commerce sites, it isn’t fair to compare you to them, but the reality is they do. Your website has to work and be up-to-date. That is the bare minimum. Don’t assume. Click through your website right now. If you haven’t done the “Aunt Ruby Website Optimization Test” you should.

3. Shorten your “thank you” cycle time. Funny how we can get so focused on raising money and finding new donors that we forget to thank the ones we have. Thank donors who are giving to you quickly, personally and specifically. If your organization needs a week to generate an acknowledgment and receipt you are taking too long. Sorry, that’s the truth. Think about it. Your donors who are giving sacrificially during times like this deserve a prompt thank you. They deserve to know that their gift is used the way they intended. And don’t take chances on their names, double check that what you have on your file is what is on their check. If it’s different, find out why. That’s a great opportunity to make a quick appreciation call to them and find out if he’s a “Bob” or a “Robert.” You might think about treating every donor as if they were your only donor–it changes how you think.

How about you, what great but “boring” fundraising strategies have you found that work?


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity


(photo credits: jimcchou)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

2 thoughts on “boring strategies work”

  1. Selling candy bars in front of walmart, car wash, and a garage sale. The ministry brought in $8.32. I like your ideas much better.

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