Five Effective Ways to Improve your Fundraising Efforts in 2021

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There is no doubt that fundraising is an important part of your work if you work with a nonprofit. Whether you want to raise more money, or just encourage donors to give more often; there are many ways to improve your efforts.

Here are five strategies to ensure your job is easy. These strategies range from individual giving to building a Donor Funnel. Now here is where we dive in!…. 

#1: Learn to focus more on Individual Giving

The most powerful form of fundraising for a nonprofit is Individual Giving. Nearly 70% of all money raised by nonprofit organizations comes from individuals. Hence, 70% of your fundraising efforts should be directed at individual giving; including major donor fundraising, annual giving, and monthly recurring giving.

Individual donations are often not as large, but they can be more powerful than corporate and foundation donations. Why you may ask?  Because every gift an individual gives counts the same. Individual Giving is the most powerful form of donations for nonprofit organizations because they make up the majority of available funds.

Here are six tips to increase the size and number of individual donations:
  • Create donor profiles that identify potential donors by their interests, demographics, habits, and challenges.
  • Get face time with prospects through events or one-on-one meetings. Personal connections are more effective than mailing requests for money.  
  • Volunteer locally as a way to meet people who might be interested in donating financially at some point.

#2: Build a Donor Funnel

The donor funnel is the idea that you should walk your donors through four distinct phases during their relationship with your organization: 

  • Prospecting 
  • Cultivation
  • Asking
  • Stewardship. 

The donor funnel can help your organization capitalize on the goodwill of donors and provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Let’s start with Prospecting

A great place to find new donors is from your current donor pool. Use your database to identify your best donors. If you’re just getting started and don’t have any current donors to pull from, use your board and staff as a resource. Ask them for names of friends and colleagues who might be interested in the mission of your organization. 

Another way of recruiting prospects is through technology. In the social media arena; there is also an app that can make your job easier. The app is called  Snov which I have included in the link description button below. This app can help you recruit prospects even from social media like Linkedin. Once you’ve identified some prospective donors; start making a list of at least twenty of them.

It’s time to start the Cultivation

In the cultivation phase, educate your new connections about what it means to support your mission and give opportunities. This is also an opportunity for donors to give back by donating financially or volunteering their time with your cause.


 Ask this potential donor how much they would like to donate or volunteer on behalf of the organization and when they plan on making these donations; so you can ensure proper stewardship during this period.


This includes thanking everyone who donated and updating them, usually monthly.

The donor funnel ensures you are providing your donors with the information they need at each stage of their relationship. This can build trust with them and move them through from one phase to another. 

The Four Stages will be:   Awareness- Where the potential donor learns about who your organization is. Interest- Where they learn more about what it means for them to give financially (including benefits). Commitment- When they commit by making an initial donation or signing up as a monthly sustainer. Action- Once committed, take steps together towards achieving something significant on behalf of the cause!

#3 Have a Donor Acquisition Strategy

One of the most important steps in nonprofit fundraising success is setting up a great donor acquisition plan. Your nonprofit needs a well-defined plan for cultivating new donors each year. This requires consistent prospective outreach and marketing initiatives that are both robust and focused on effective lead generation to maximize results from cultivation efforts.

The best strategies involve creating profiles of potential donors based on their interests, demographics, habits, or challenges. 

Then, organize outreach efforts around these specific segments of individuals who might be interested in donating. For example, some organizations have staff volunteer locally as way to meet people who might be interested in donating time or money in the future. 

#4:  Focus on Online Fundraising by Using E-mail, Social Media, and Online Fundraising Events

Few small nonprofits can generate enough in donations from offline events. That’s why many non-profits turn to online fundraising as a way of increasing the amount they can collect.  

Online fundraising methods include e-mail campaigns, social media pages or boosted posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms; videos made specifically for sharing with friends and family via email or YouTube; crowdfunding through sites; creating an event page that people can donate to (e.g., raffles); 

The key to raising money for your nonprofit organization online is gathering email addresses. Focus on capturing e-mail addresses of people who are interested in learning more about your initiative and then communicate with them regularly.

Social media is a great way to raise money for your nonprofit organization.  Nonprofits can use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels as channels that can be leveraged to solicit donations from prospects online.

Every successful nonprofit should also have at least one online fundraising event each year. These events allow organizations to leverage their existing communications networks to reach new audiences of potential donors who might not otherwise hear about it or engage with them by offering something unique and interesting they could share on the event page through social media posts and e-mail.

 #5: Have a Plan and Stick to It 

For most nonprofits, the key to raising more money is doing less but doing it well. 

Your organization doesn’t have unlimited resources. You only have so many staff dedicated to fundraising, so much money to spend on development and so many hours in the day. 

You cannot do everything but you can develop 2- 3 strategies and stick to them.

Nonprofit fundraising success hinges on your organization using its capacity for development. Every nonprofit need a written fundraising plan. I like to write 3-year fundraising plans. It’s a reasonable timeframe that is long enough to allow my organization to plan without being so long that you just end up guessing about the future. A failure to develop a fundraising plan for nonprofits is one of the most common mistakes I see in the nonprofit world. 

Another major mistake is failing to implement your fundraising plan. Write your plan right. If you do so you will be able to use it as a real, measurable strategy for your fund development program.


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