Your Top 5 Fundraising Tips for Success

Whether you’re raising finance for a nonprofit organisation, a community project (link to guide to community fundraising), a school club (link to ultimate guide for school fundraising) or another charitable venture, there are steps you can take to make sure your fundraising is as successful as possible. 

To help you in your charitable efforts, here we’ve distilled our fundraising expertise into our top five tips for fundraising managers that can best help you achieve your fundraising objectives. 

Tip 1: Set Clear Fundraising Goals

Before any fundraising begins, to make sure it’s effective you need to set clear and measurable fundraising goals. Putting goals in place will help you to:

  • Provide clarity on what you want to achieve with your fundraising project, both for the people involved within your organisation during planning, and for your potential supporters.
  • Ensure that appropriate resources are allocated..
  • Help motivate those involved with conducting the fundraising.
  • Give transparency to donors on how close the fundraiser is to achieving its goals.
  • Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your fundraising project. 

Fundraising goals are typically financial, such as raising a certain amount of money in a given time period. But there are other goals to consider, like attracting a number of new donors or raising awareness. When it comes to setting your own goals, take inspiration from these examples of fundraising objectives:

  • Raising a certain amount of money
  • Gaining a specific number of new subscribers
  • Increasing donor retention rates
  • Achieving certain social media metrics, like reach, impressions and follower numbers

You can have multiple goals for a fundraising project. Just make sure you don’t dilute your purpose by picking too many, or by selecting goals that conflict.

To be effective, make sure your fundraising goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

Tip 2: Know your Target Audience

Every project that involves capturing the attention of people to convince them to support and donate to your cause should be targeted towards a specific audience. Defining a clear target audience and doing everything you can to understand them will allow you to tailor your fundraising strategies and communications towards your audience. This will ensure each of your activities are effective and that they increase the likelihood of support.

For each fundraising initiative, identify at least one target audience. You can have multiple audiences if required, as long as they’re complementary and that you can realistically target all of them. There’s no single best way to identify a target audience, but the most important is that you understand:

  • Their values, interests, and concerns
  • What kinds of topics and messages best capture and hold their attention
  • The type of language they use
  • What media they consume, where they can be found online and on social media
  • Their motivations for supporting your cause

Once you’ve defined your audience(s), effective targeting allows you to:

  • Choose the most appropriate fundraising methods for them, from in-person events to social media fundraising and from sponsorships to community volunteering projects.
  • Choose the most appropriate communication channels to reach your audience, especially the right social media platforms.
  • Create compelling messages that resonate with your audience.
  • Guide your donor retention strategies, including understanding why they’re donating to you and what rewards and recognition would be most compelling for them.

Tip 3: Craft a Compelling Story

When it comes to effectively holding attention, evoking emotion and inspiring people to get behind your cause, you need to tell stories. Stories are the lifeblood of our culture, and they weave our experiences and values together. Good stories entertain, ignite imagination, and can educate and incite. 

Aim to craft stories for your fundraising initiatives that describe the issues your organisation is addressing and that demonstrate the importance of your work. To be compelling, your fundraising stories need to:

  • Be short and easy to understand.
  • Have a sense of urgency and importance, with a clear challenge/threat to be tackled.
  • Demonstrate how donations will help overcome that challenge/threat.
  • Feel authentic and genuine.
  • Evoke emotion. Focus on individual people or charismatic animals that supporters can relate to. Try to invoke feelings of empathy, compassion and inspiration. 
  • End with a clear call to action on how people can help, such as providing a link to a site where they can donate, and encouraging other forms of engagement such as subscribing or re-sharing the message.

Tip 4: Diversify your Fundraising Methods

When it comes to fundraising, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Whilst a specific method of fundraising may prove effective for a time, fundraising channels can be subject to fluctuations. 

By adopting multiple fundraising methods, you can protect your organisation against variations in donations, helping to secure a stable cash flow that can support your ongoing work. Using a range of fundraising approaches will also improve your chances of reaching wider audiences. 

Consider adopting a portfolio of fundraising methods, with a mix of continuous and one-off endeavours that are appropriate for your target audience(s), such as:

  • Fundraising events, both online and off, like fairs, festivals, concerts, and auctions
  • Crowdfunding (link to crowdfunding guide)
  • Registering with easyfundraising
  • Social media fundraising
  • Direct mail/email campaigns
  • Sponsorships and other business partnerships, like joint product ranges
  • Merchandising
  • Workplace giving programs (link to employee giving article)
  • Grant and foundation applications

Tip 5: Maintain Donor Relationships

Maintaining relationships with donors who are already aware of, engaged with, and supporting your organisation is almost always more financially efficient than attracting new supporters. The cost of encouraging existing donors to continue contributing is likely to be lower than the cost of attracting new donors to your cause.

While gaining new supporters is crucial to fundraising success, keeping your current donors committed is also vital to preserve the long-term health of your fundraising revenue streams. To keep your supporters committed and engaged, consider:

  • Expressing gratitude for contributions with personalised messages
  • Providing regular updates on the progress of your fundraising 
  • Sharing impact reports on significant successes
  • Staying engaged with your followers on social media
  • Offering ‘members only’ bonuses
  • Providing opportunities for continued involvement or volunteering
  • Conducting donor surveys and asking for feedback to improve your donor relations 

Bonus tip: Sign Up to easyfundraising

Operating a portfolio of fundraising approaches can improve the reach of your organisation’s fundraising activities and help to establish a stable source of revenue. We offer your organisation a fundraising method to add to your portfolio that helps generate a continuous stream of donations. And most importantly, it won’t cost your supporters any more than they’re already spending online when they shop with certain retailers.

When your supporters join easyfundraising, they can earn money for charity with their everyday online shopping. When they shop with our 7,500+ partner retailers – including brands like Amazon, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis – those partners will donate some of what is spent to a chosen charity, such as your organisation, at no extra cost to the shopper. We provide your supporters with a cost-effective way to donate to you. And we offer you a different take on fundraising.

Achieving long-term fundraising success

Fundraising is a complex and challenging endeavour, but one that can be essential to support the important work of your organisation. Securing consistent revenue streams from fundraising will take hard work and intelligent planning, but the five tips we give you here can help you establish the foundations of a successful fundraising program.

And don’t forget to register your organisation with easyfundraising to help with your long-term fundraising success.