More specifically, make it rain donations and grants. I wish I could tell you that there is a magic recipe to achieving fundraising goals for your nonprofit, but there is not.
What we do know is that the United States is a very generous nation. There are many, many individuals, companies and foundations that make an intentional effort to be philanthropic in their communities and beyond.
But how do you find those willing to give and where do you begin?
Start with a plan. Look at who has given to your organization in the past. Why have they given to your organization? If you are lucky, maybe they just consulted Google for a listing of nonprofits with missions in line with their philanthropic goals…but probably not. People give because they feel a connection to what your organization does. They keep giving because someone in your organization has taken the time to build a relationship.
Keep building those relationships. Ask the donor out for coffee. Use the magic of social media and Google to do your research. KNOW your donor. When you meet the donor for the first time, let her talk. Ask open-ended questions…
- “What is important to you?”
- “How did you first connect with our organization?”
- “Tell me about your family?”
In short, find out what feeds your donor’s passion. DON’T ask for a gift, that part will come in its own time and will be natural. If you are forcing it – you are asking too soon.
Are you looking to grow your fundraising totals through grants?
Again, don’t look for the grant fairy godmother. Instead, do your research. Find foundations whose giving priorities align with your mission. Next, TALK to the grant officer. If you spend all your time applying for grant after grant without talking to anyone, you will get nowhere. Ask the grant officer what types of programs or services the foundation is looking to support. This doesn’t mean that you have to change your mission to get the grant, but you CAN craft your grant application to focus on the foundation’s goals. Most grant officers greatly appreciate the extra effort and it will pay off significantly when it comes time for the foundation to select grantees.
So maybe you can’t make it rain money just yet. But, you can start fertilizing the ground so that your organization will grow healthy and strong in the near future.