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30. Fundraising - Secrets To Success


 Anyone can raise some money some how, but if you are serious about really supporting your non-profit through your fundraising efforts, you will have to go further than the occasional sale or selling campaign. The costs of running a non-profit are quite high today, and you need to make sure that you get every dollar you can to keep your group afloat. 

There are a few secrets to successful fundraising that are simply not covered in most books and resources aboutfundraising. However, these are the secrets that can mean the difference between a mediocre fundraising campaign and a great one. These are strategies that many fundraising consultants use, and here you can consider them without those expensive consultation fees.


There is an entire psychology of selling and of getting people to part with their hard earned money. Fundraising is very much about the emotional and psychological response that donors have to your cause, and often, the difference between a donation and a "no" response is nothing more than a few small psychological events that make a potential donor look with less favor on your non-profit organization. Consider the following:

  • Money: Most people are very emotional when it comes to cash. To part someone from their cash, you have to affect them emotionally, not intellectually. That means rather than focusing on all the practical reasons for giving money, you need to paint a picture of the suffering lack of money is causing and then emotionally show how their donation can change that. 
  • "Me": Donors are human and like all of us, they want to feel special. If you can make them feel that they are indeed very special and that they can make a huge impact, they are more likely to support your cause. 
  •  Reasons: Before most of us donate t a cause, we look for something that appeals to us, some reason why we should give to one cause over another. If you can tell donors something special or your experience, they are more likely to support your cause. For example, the charities that raise money for world relief often stress the sheer number of people who die every single day from hunger. The very fact that these numbers are so unbelievably large often causes many people to be compelled to give money for this cause. Find a compelling reason why people should give to your non-profit organziation right now, and you will be well on your way to a successful fundraiser. Compelling reasons create a sense of urgency that money must be given now. 
  • Impressions: We are very suspicious of strangers these days, and we use our first impressions and intuition to see whether we are comfortable with a volunteer asking for donations. If we are not, then our answer will be a definite "no", whether there are good compelling reasons to donate to a cause or not. So make sure that your volunteers create that good first impression, that they are warm and friendly, and create that comfortable feeling. 
  • No: People look for reasons to say "no" to your fundraising cause, so if you can eliminate these reasons, then you have more chance of them saying "yes" to your request for a donation. Some reasons that donors say "no" are because they believe: 
    •  that their money won't really make a difference 
    •  that a cause is too far away or not important enough 
    •  that charity is a waste of time 
    •  that non-profit groups do not use money responsibly 
    •  that the money will never get to those who really need it 
    • that there is no urgency in giving money now - a contribution can be made "later" 
    •  that money can be raised elsewhere or from someone else 

You and your group need to create compelling reasons why these beliefs are invalid when it comes to your fundraising campaign and your non-profit group. Then, include these reasons and ideas in your opening requests for support.


You will likely need more than one fundraising event, and unless your group is quite small or supported generously by grants, you will need to try several different methods of fundraising in order to collect the funds you require for your group.  This is especially important because not everyone will respond favorably to the same kind of fundraiser, so by trying diferent strategies, you cast your net wider, and are more likely to get funds from more sources.

For example, one person may not donate cash to a food bank drive, but they may be prepared to donate some canned goods, provided they have that option. Make sure you leave your options open, and if possible provide choices to people so that they can choose how they would like to support your cause.


Non-Stop Fundraising

Fundraising for a non-profit organization is not usually just one event that takes place when the group has a need for money. In order to be successful, fundraising has to take place all the time and the more successful non-profit groups work regular fundraising into the daily operations of a group. Weekly meetings always include some mention of a fundraising effort underway, so that money is always coming in.

Larger groups may actually create small groups whose only job is to fundraise. Three volunteers from your group, for example, could be in charge of year-round fundraising while the rest of the group uses the raised money to implement programs and help people.

Of course to make it more interesting for your volunteers, choose some fun fundraisers, so that your volunteers do not lose interest or find it a chore to keep on with constant fundraisers.


Most people will gladly come out to see a favorite celebrity even if it is at a fundraising event especially if they get to hear this celebrit. Many celebrities support good causes, and you may find this out by reading interviews. Once you have found someone who supports the work you are doing, contact the celebrities or their agents (there are Hollywood directories at your library that will tell you how to contact who) and explain about your non-profit organization.

 To get the best response, ask for a specific thing rather than for general support. Writing "I know that you are a generous supporter of childhood literacy - would you please offer a few kind words about the subject that we can place exclusively on our web site to help inform the public about this important issue..?" is more effective than simply asking for help. Do not overlook local celebrities such as radio station DJS and local bands. Local celebrities are often very generous with their time and support of non-profit groups and can be an excellent champion for your cause (especially if your non-profit group has a very local presence).

Sizing it Right 

Fundraising and raising awareness about a cause you believe strongly can be very exciting, and it's easy to get carried away and start dreaming big. However, try to start small when it comes to fundraising goals, and build on the excitement in your group by dreaming big when it comes to results. You do not want to try organizing a huge fair, for example, only to discover that it consumes far more time than you and your volunteers have, because this will demoralize you all. Start small and work up to the bigger events, so that you don't get overwhelmed right at the beginning..



Choosing the right time for your fundraiser is very important. You want to avoid days that already have big events on them, and you don't want to have a 24 hour walk in the middle of winter, nor a marathon during the hottest days of summer. And remember, potential donors don't like to have their meal times interrupted, or their sleep either, so it can be very difficult to find the "perfect" time to ask someone for a donation. So stay aware of the timing for events in your community, and do the best you can.

Next page: 31. Fundraising - Problems

Practical Fundraising Ebook - Table Of Contents

  1. Fundraising - The Basics  
  2. Fundraising - Terminology 
  3. Fundraising - Money 
  4. Fundraising - Where to Find Donors and How to Reach Them 
  5. Fundraising - Targeting Your Donors 
  6. Fundraising - Research 
  7. Fundraising - Your Donors' Needs 
  8. Fundraising - Ideas 
  9. Fundraising - Donated Products 
  10. Fundraising - Bought Products 
  11. Fundraising - Marathons 
  12. Fundraising - Lotteries, raffles and more 
  13. Fundraising - Fairs, Auctions and Bazaars 
  14. Fundraising - Fun Events 
  15. Fundraising - Drives 
  16. Fundraising - Services 
  17. Fundraising - Tips for Choosing a Fundraising Idea 
  18. Fundraising - Your Plan 
  19. Fundraising - Your Team 
  20. Fundraising - Staying Organized 
  21. Fundraising - Communicating With Your Donors 
  22. Fundraising - Advertising 
  23. Fundraising - Letters 
  24. Fundraising - Emails and more 
  25. Fundraising - Person to Person 
  26. Fundraising - Thank You Notes 
  27. Fundraising - Grant Proposals 
  28. Fundraising - Press Releases 
  29. Fundraising - With Computers 
  30. Fundraising - Secrets to Success 
  31. Fundraising - Problems 
  32. Fundraising - Conclusions 


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