Fundraising is an important core income stream especially in times of recession. So what elements of your cause’s business should you continue to find
funding for and where should you be looking for those all important funding streams?
Deciding what part of your business is expendable
The impact of recession isn’t usually felt until about 18 months after the initial blow when confidence in the economy is at a low and when everyone’s belt
will need to be tightened. It is therefore beneficial to look at how these changes will affect your business in terms of lost income and where, in turn,
you may need to make cuts and savings in order to survive.
The first cost cutting exercise must surely be streamlining your operation. Remind yourself what your organisation was initially set up to do. Are you
still doing this as part of your core business or have you moved away from this? Do you have lots of add-on’s which reflect a very small part of your
business but are not essential to the core? If the answer is yes then your first steps are to look at what you can pare back, at least for the interim, in
order to keep the essential core business going within limited income streams. This will allow you to discover where other savings can be made. Look at
your most recent accounts and identify major expenditure headings. Can these costs be reduced by taking some services in-house / or contracting out to
someone else? Could you get quotes for services from other suppliers? Even though you may experience a significant drop in fundraising this doesn’t
necessarily mean that your business has to suffer.
You need a good fundraising strategy
Ok, so you know how much you’ll need to keep the main area of your business going but how are you going to get it funded? For those nonprofits that have
been going a while they should already have money that is under their own control. But for all organisation’s including the many young or newly started
nonprofits, it will mean forming a realistic strategy on how you’re going to attract donations and grants.
Keeping up good relationships is key
No matter where you have gained income from in the past, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to rely on it in the future. However, a few choice
decisions now about how to continue to network with existing as well as attempting to attract new donors, will enable your organisation to gain its much
So keep past and existing donors informed of what you’re doing and how successful you are at doing it. Keep information current, especially that which can
be easily accessed, send out regular newsletters about your achievements. Do as much as you can with the resources you have to keep your organisation
uppermost in the minds of the donor. They may say ‘no’ at the moment but it is more likely that they will help out as and when they can if they believe
you’re still fully active.
It is therefore also extremely important that when it comes to deciding what items need to be cut from the budget, advertising, marketing and publicity
should not be included amongst them. You need to maintain visibility within the sector, not only by addressing past and existing donors but also
prospective donors as well.
A general rule of thumb – if you’ve been heard of or seen at least three times by an individual then that individual is three times more likely to donate
to your cause.
This doesn’t have to be costly to be effective either, a simple web marketing strategy can help spread the word about your organisation. Get involved on
Twitter, at Facebook and set up a blog. You’ll soon see the benefits of keeping people informed.
Where to look for funders
Corporate donations are not quite as freely available as they used to be. However, if you can prove to a corporation that your organisation’s core business
directly responds to the work that the corporation wants to encourage as part of their business then you are more likely to get funding.
Trusts are not likely to be able to give out grants as they have been able to in the past due to the uncertainty of the imminent government cutbacks in
spending. That being said they are more likely to support less popular causes. If your organisation fits the bill make sure that you build even closer
relationships with those trusts that are likely to consider supporting you.
Regular donations from individuals are likely to decrease, but you can still hold events or in-house fundraising projects such as selling raffle tickets or
selling cards coming up to Christmas etc.
Finally, there is community fundraising. Considerable interest always surrounds local causes and concerns. It might also be worth approaching local groups
such as Rotarians, Masons and Inner Wheel, who will all fundraise for local causes.
Last but by no means least
It’s a given, the economy will get better and hopefully many of us will weather the storm particularly well for as long as it continues. Just remember:
• Fundraising is not about rational thinking – there are no hard and fast rules and every opportunity should be researched if not followed through
• Delay major capital investments – but don’t stop planning them
• Plan for the future – but don’t expect quick fixes
• Never be embarrassed asking for money – if you’re a nonprofit organisation, it’s expected
• And above all – remain positive, it will be noticed and rewarded!