Nonprofit Entrepreneurship

Step-up Fundraising

Step-up fundraising is a great nonprofit fundraising technique. We provide some great tips for increasing the commitment level of repeat donors.

The search for new sources of nonprofit funding can be frustrating, especially for nonprofits who lack the resources to hire a full-time team of development professionals.

Step up Fundraising

New donors are important, but your existing donor pool may also be capable of providing the additional funds your organization requires.

Over the years, nonprofits have realized that a lot of donors are willing to increase the amount they give to the organization as long as they continue to believe in the organization's mission and its ability to achieve its goals.

As the organization grows, donors' willingness to increase their annual contribution grows along with it. However, "step-up" fundraising doesn't just happen. As a leader of a nonprofit organization, there are some proactive steps that need to take place in order to increase the contributions of existing donors.

Build Relationships

The surest way to build great donors is to build great relationships. If a donor feels as though their only contribution to the organization is financial, sooner or later they will take their charitable dollars somewhere else. Your challenge is to build meaningful relationships with your donors and help them feel more connected to the organization.

Start by identifying your top twenty donors and commit to making personal contact (by phone or in person) during the next six months. Talk to these donors about your organization's goals and solicit their input about the organization. It's very possible that you will discover they are passionate about something the organization is doing or is planning to do in the near future, providing a perfect opportunity for the donor to support their passion through additional contributions.

Recognize Donor Achievement

Like everyone else, donors aren't immune to the charm of occasional encouragement and recognition. Many nonprofits assign names to various contribution levels (e.g. silver donors, gold donors, platinum donors) and publicize a list of those who have contributed at each level. This provides a built-in incentive for donors to increase their giving in order to reach the next contribution level.

Whether or not you publicize giving levels is entirely up to you and your board of directors. The important thing is to find a way to recognize donors for the part they have already played in achieving your organizational goals, and entice them to increase their giving in a positive and encouraging way.

Increase Donor Involvement

Donors are more likely to step-up their giving when their sense of ownership in the organization increases. There are many ways to help your donors feel more invested in your organization, but the simplest may be volunteer involvement.

When donors volunteer their time, they gain intimate firsthand knowledge about the how the organization is making a difference in the community. More often than not, donors' personal experience in fulfilling the organization's mission motivates them to ensure its continued success through additional financial contributions.

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