August may be the slowest month for nonprofit fundraising in the entire calendar year – so use it to your advantage to plan, be on your toes, and be successful in the fall! Here are 12 helpful tips to start preparing for your nonprofit’s fall fundraising.
1. Set your fall fundraising goals
Follow this easy to use checklist to set goals for the new fundraising season before you do any planning. You need to know how much money you are planning to raise, for what programs, and for what particular purpose to be effective in your events and other donor appeals.
2. Put yourself in the fundraising mindset
Read at least one inspiring or helpful must-read fundraising book, even if you’re still on the beach, to get yourself in the groove for jumping into your nonprofit work again.
3. Get your staff ready to fundraise
Motivate and inspire your staff with appropriate professional development and by sending motivational quotes in emails, texts, tweets, or memos.
4. Organize your fundraising volunteers
If you don’t have one, set up a fundraising committee for your fall fundraising and end of year giving goals now! If you have a committee, set a meeting today for them to know your fall goals and set roles for each volunteer.
5. Set up an online fundraising site
Even if you have a “donate now” button on your website, it has now become common practice to use one of the many online fundraising sites that incorporate social media and other programs for your nonprofit causes. Read about the 15 Most Popular Online Fundraising Sites to learn more about what other organizations are doing and what program might be best for your nonprofit or cause.
6. Start planning a great event
Fall may be the best time to host a donor event – whether it be to prime donors for a year end appeal, or to take advantage of the best weather of the year. Know what makes the difference between a good event and a great event and how to measure your capacity for different types of events before you plan!
7. Plan an appropriate product fundraiser
You can make a few extra dollars by using volunteers and/or your social network to sell products for you – from mattresses to candy bars! Use this checklist tool to determine what product fundraiser is most appropriate for your particular nonprofit.
8. Set up a matching grant for a fall appeal
You can double your impact and attract more funding with matching grants, or attracting a donor or corporate sponsor to match dollar-for-dollar all funds raised toward your campaign. If you want to try a matching appeal for the fall, you need to attract your sponsor or matching donor now!
9. Organize and research your donors
Even if you have a great donor base, you can always make it stronger to make your organization more sustainable. Read these tips on using online resources to find new donor prospects for your fall appeals.
10. Write your donor appeal letters
Good gifts come from good asks – so once you have your fundraising strategy in place, make sure you draft effective appeals well ahead of your events or donor meetings. Download our 5-star reviewed, Kindle-ready e-book of Sample Fundraising Letters to help you draft one today!
11. Plan a Halloween fundraiser
Especially if your nonprofit works with children, think about planning a pumpkin patch fundraiser to get your group outdoors and in the holiday spirit this October! You want to start planning a couple of months in advance to effectively organize all details. (Read also: Why Halloween fundraisers are a great way to connect with your community.)
12. Plan to be part of #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday, or non-profit twittering for online and mobile donations the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is growing exponentially annually. Mobile donations were up 101% in 2014 over 2013, and giving overall rose 63%. Our free #GivingTuesday checklist will get you prepared in advance to participate this year.
If you’re ready, you’ll be successful this fall! So even if you’re still on the beach or barbecuing on the patio with the kids, start getting your organization ready for fall fundraising with these quick tips and resources.