Looking at how to increase your non-profit’s reach might be the simplest and most effective way of increasing revenue. Does your organization rely on an annual fundraiser to survive?
Are you using your precious resources to develop, market, and run it?
Avoid staff burnout and limit overtime.
Most non-profits set a format and stick to it because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Times change, people change, societies change, and eventually your donor pool changes.
Who are your donors?
Did you notice when your donor pool changed? What did you first notice? Was it when donations started to dry up? Diversification is important in fundraising. To create a diverse pool of donors, take a deep and hard look at who your are trying to reach: who they are, how they relate to you, and how you can support THEM.
Shared affinities increase your non-profit’s reach
People support organizations when they share affinities with them. Look at how to increase your non-profit’s reach ny growing your donor pool. Are your donors part of the group your organization serves? An example of this is families with a loved one suffering from an incurable disease. Of course they want to contribute to the charity dedicated to finding a cure for it.
Sometimes the main sponsors are NOT directly affected by the organization’s outreach. One example of this is a business that contributes to a non-profit serving homeless children. Where is the connection in this case? Is it because of the activity the sponsors can take to help, or is it about their reputational enhancement by associating with the non-profit?
Look at your organization’s culture. Is it homogenous? Do the majority of your supporters look alike, live in the same place, have the same interests, or have the same socio-economic status? There’s a lot to be said for extending your reach. For example, a food bank which had previously funded by church members extending their reach by joining the local Chamber of Commerce.
Diversify your outreach
Many nonprofits first become viable when they increase their visibility beyond their traditional supporters. How do you do that? One way is by diversifying your means of outreach. Another way is by diversifying what your organization offers people and organizations.
How do you fundraise?
A very simple idea that is worth examining, is how your non-profit currently fundraises. Where can you find opportunities to shift the concept? Something that amazes me is how some organizations are still doing the same thing that they did 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago. It may have stopped working a long time ago, but you won’t know that unless you have been keeping diligent KPI records.
We began working with a non-profit that provides medical services to remote villages in Nicaragua and Ecuador. They have dedicated medical providers who donate their time and expertise. In addition, they are setting up satellite offices to develop the healthcare infrastructure of small villages that are far away from normal services. Being a relatively new organization, they are always on the lookout for different ways of doing things. When they reached out to us in 2019 for their annual fundraiser, we were intrigued. What could we offer them that they had not already done or seen?
Palm readings to engage donors?
They asked us to do palm readings. That’s simple. But how could we put something into what they were doing that would be a game-changer? The first event we did for them was so fast and furious and the attendees’ waits were long for their palm reading or a lip print analysis or handwriting analysis. There was an opportunity to extend their reach and really think through the process of what they were trying to do and find different ways to do it.
Pivot and profit
For their 2020 event, discussion had started earlier in the year. It became obvious that an in-person event would most likely not be an option. They were swift to pivot, and hired a company to provide an online auction service. This was great for them in many different ways. They used it to create excitement, first off. Most importantly, they used it to reduce the time that their staff had to spend on creating packages, selling packages and collecting for packages. This turned out to be a real timesaver and also help them raise a proportionately much larger amount of money than in past years.
No idea is wasted
Because everybody was working so hard to pivot, (the most overused term of the year), we didn’t have time to flesh out an idea that had been “percolating’ in my head – to offer coffee cup readings. The director of the nonprofit owns a coffee business. We had begun to work on providing kits to individuals that would let them get coffee, brew it in their cup, and get a coffee reading all in one with a virtual coffee reading and coffee kit.
How are you trying to increase your non-profit’s reach?
The drawback was that our advance timeline was shorter than we needed to make this function optimally. Another issue that was that the majority the people involved in the organization were young families. Due to the pandemic, they were more stressed out than ever before—balancing jobs, childcare and educational tasks on top of their usual family involvement. They just didn’t have the bandwidth to be able to deal with making a cup of coffee and executing all the little intricacies at a prescribed moment and in a specific way.
Hopefully, the seeds that we have planted will help this non-profit continue to reach their donors to create an even better event this year!