How to Fundraise for a Nonprofit

Nonprofit fundraising is more than just asking for money. It requires strategic thinking, solid data management, and realistic goal setting. To be successful, nonprofit organizations need a donation system that streamlines tasks like accepting donations, recording gifts, and storing donor information. 

If you're just getting started, here are five steps you can take to build a realistic and actionable fundraising strategy. 

1. Identify Funding Sources 

A nonprofit fundraising strategy should pull from multiple sources. These may include memberships, recurring gifts, in-kind donations, corporate gifts, legacy gifts, matching gifts, grants, and more.

Each type of gift will require a different approach. You'll likely need to fill out a grant application to receive gifts from foundations, whereas individual donations require you to build a personal relationship with the donor. 

Some of the ways that individuals, businesses, and foundations can contribute to your cause include:

  • Individual Giving: One-off gifts from individuals, typically given as cash, a check, or an online donation.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding campaigns typically take place online and engage an extensive network of supporters, often via smaller, individual gifts.
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Peer-to-peer fundraising taps into donors' personal networks, giving them a platform to encourage friends and family to give.
  • In-Kind Donation Drives: An in-kind donation drive allows you to request in-kind gifts such as supplies, given in person or ordered online.
  • Corporate Giving: Corporations can encourage employees to donate by setting up company matching, ACH or automatic payroll processing so donations can be automatically dedicated each month. 

2. Set Your Nonprofit Up to Receive Donations

To benefit from your fundraising strategy, you'll need to be set up to receive gifts, including monetary and in-kind donations. Many donors prefer to give online, so make sure that along with offering options to accept cash and checks, you're providing a simple virtual option. 

GivePulse's nonprofit CRM allows nonprofits to set up unlimited donation and crowdfunding pages so groups and individuals can fundraise for your organization. All major cards are accepted–including international cards–along with ACH and other banking methods. Plus, we offer the industry's lowest transaction payment processing system–just 1% per donation–allowing you to do more with the funds you receive. 

3. Set Goals

A successful and realistic fundraising strategy starts with goal setting. Hopefully, you already have a good idea of your needs, whether that's in-kind donations to support your food bank or a grant to support operations costs. Once you know who you're going to approach for funds and how you'll accept them, it's time to set some benchmarks. 

Identify one or more potential funders from your list of sources, and create a plan to approach them. If you're looking for lots of small donations, this might be organizing a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. If you're looking to attract a large base of new supporters, a sponsored race or run may be the right solution. Or, you may have a specific project you'd like to fund that aligns well with the interests of a particular donor.

Whatever the need, setting a measurable goal and then catering your approach based on the project and donor will allow you to maximize your chance of success.

4. Track Donations

Whether you receive cash or nonprofit in-kind donations, tracking gifts is essential. This allows you to measure your fundraising progress and understand who your donors are so you can continue to engage them. 

Before you begin accepting nonprofit donations, your organization should have a solid strategy in place to track gifts. While you may start out working with a manual tracking system, like a spreadsheet, you'll quickly find that you need a more robust system. 

GivePulse allows nonprofits to collect donor information at checkout, so you'll automatically have access to the data you need to recognize and retain your donors. Constant tracking and reporting allow you to measure your impact over time, report back on your progress to donors and grantors, and identify opportunities to re-engage donors with a second ask. 

5. Build a Nonprofit Database

A robust nonprofit database (or CRM) will streamline fundraising operations by providing a platform to accept gifts online, measure giving, and keep track of nonprofit donors. This is essential both for retaining donors and for meeting organizational goals. 

GivePulse's one-stop database allows you to track donor information, volunteer hours, event attendance and more. More data means you better understand who your donors really are. 

By analyzing metrics like the average gift and frequency of giving, you'll be able to set realistic and measurable goals for future programs.

Get Started with GivePulse Today

A strong fundraising strategy is critical for promoting stable, sustainable growth for your nonprofit. 

GivePulse's all-in-one donor, member, and event management system can help you accept donations and track and increase engagement with your donors, board members and volunteers–all with the lowest transaction rates in the industry. 

Schedule a demo with GivePulse today to learn how we can help you achieve fundraising goals and grow.



About GivePulse

GivePulse's mission is to enable everyone in the world to participate and engage in lifting their community to new heights. We do so by providing a platform to list, find, organize and measure the impact of service-learning, community engagement, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism.

Founded in 2012 in Austin, Texas, GivePulse works with 650,000+ groups, including colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses, K-12/school districts and cities and municipalities. Together, we connect millions of people in an effort to create positive social change.

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