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9 Ways to Raise Money for Your Nonprofit

Are you a nonprofit that needs to hire that next staff person? (Growth.) Need to raise awareness for your cause? (Promotion.) Or do you simply need to keep the lights on? (Sustainability.)

So–besides collecting member dues (if your structure allows it; we use Qgiv for secure, recurring giving like this)–here are nine more ways for your nonprofit to profit:

  1. Hold a fundraising event (or two.) Add them to your annual calendar so you can plan and promote them well in advance every year. (See almost 100 fundraising event ideas here…)
  2. Send a fundraising letter to your list of donors. This may be asking for a one-time gift (is it ever only just “one” time though) or a request to commit to a gift that renews monthly or annually (if they’re not already set up for this.) More, expand this to a fundraising email sent to your whole mailing list.
  3. Apply for grants. You know who the players are. If necessary, hire a grant-writer to navigate this process, but make sure your hat is thrown into the ring. Someone is going to get that money; may as well be you. Put in the work to develop a strong grant application and submit in advance of the due date.
  4. Get added to the United Way. While the organization may keep over 20% of the donations to cover operational and promotional efforts, you’re tapping into a broader audience. Research the local United Way offerings to ensure this aligns with your core values before signing on the dotted line.
  5. Launch a board giving campaign. Often, board members are selected not only for vision-casting and decision-making, but also for their ability to fund the effort. If board members don’t have pockets deep enough to lend to your cause, they may be able to leverage other resources (staff hours, volunteer base, contact lists, etc.) toward advancing your mutual mission.
  6. Recruit volunteers to raise money on your behalf. This may look like a telethon or crowdfunding campaign, but make sure your volunteers are equipped with your story, a solid understanding of your cause, and a solid script complete with answers to frequently asked questions (phone script, email script, social media script, etc.) Some telethons lean on leveraging their volunteers’ contact lists, bringing in way warmer leads than simply making cold calls to local businesses. Smart.
  7. Ask a donor to run a hosted event. Here you’re able to come alongside one of your larger donors or partners to tap into their audience, on their turf. This is especially helpful if you have a new or under-established brand in contrast to your donor. One example of this might be a client-appreciation party/fundraiser thrown by your donor to their clientele where the proceeds go to your cause.
  8. Seek out a major donor to fund a project. Instead of the more nebulous and airy “support our great cause” approach, have an actual project the donor can apply funds to. Be sure to round back with the donor and share the success of the event so they can see what kind of impact their dollars made.
  9. Seek out in-kind donations to meet your needs, instead of asking for money. Maybe a donor doesn’t have a lot of cash but they are able to print and mail your next event save-the-date postcards at low or no cost to you. Need office supplies? Need items to donate to your clients? Ask your community to fulfill these non-cash needs.

There you have it. Nine ways to raise money for your growing nonprofit. (Actually there were ten ideas–did you see how I slipped that whole membership dues tip in there at the beginning? Tricky!)

Did I miss a fundraising idea in this list? Feel free to suggest one in the comments below!

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References

Garecht, J. 17 Ways to Raise $25,000 for Your Organization. The Fundraising Authority. Retrieved from http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/fundraising-ideas/17-ways-to-raise-25000/ .

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conference sponsorship package examples

Conference Sponsorship Package Examples

Unfortunately, a common weakness in many events is the underwriting. Seeking sponsorships for events is often placed upon the shoulders of some over-worked staffer (or executive director) who already has a full-time job. As such, seeking event sponsorships often gets placed on the back-burner.

Want a successful event? Treat it seriously. Ensure your event manager seeks funding to help offset the costs. If you expect the whole event to be covered by registrations, you’re leaving money on the table.

Aggressively seeking sponsorships and exhibitors will go a long way toward making your event profitable. Just be sure your sponsors and exhibitors know exactly what they’re getting and deliver exactly that—at a minimum!

Use the conference sponsorship template below for ideas to help you design sponsorship packages for your next event.

Conference Sponsorship Package Examples

Special Event Sponsor $25,000 (qty 1)

  • Sponsor of the highest-profile project in the exhibit hall
  • Opportunity to introduce the project from the conference podium
  • 12 complimentary conference registrations
  • One single exhibit booth (10’ x 10’) in exhibit hall or near special project
  • Full-page back cover, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Full-page, 4-color ad in anniversary banquet and awards ceremony program
  • Logo on conference giveaway
  • Promoted on conference mobile application
  • Company profile, logo, and contact information in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, event wear and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Platinum Sponsor $20,000 (qty 2)

  • Podium recognition at 20th anniversary banquet and awards ceremony
  • 12 complimentary conference registrations
  • One double exhibit booth (10’ x 20’) with prime location in exhibit hall
  • VIP seating at front of conference hall
  • Full-page back cover of 20th anniversary banquet and awards ceremony program
  • Full-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Company/organization branding on all event lanyards
  • Logo gets top billing on conference giveaway
  • Company profile, logo, and contact information in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, event wear and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Media Sponsor $15,000 (qty 1)

  • Recognition as media sponsor for event
  • Branding and sponsorship recognition on all post-event video productions
  • Branding on event backdrop for press conferences and speaker interviews
  • 10 complimentary conference registrations
  • One single exhibit booth (10’ x 10’) in exhibit hall
  • Full-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Full-page, 4-color ad in anniversary banquet and awards ceremony program
  • Logo on conference giveaway
  • Company profile, logo, and contact information in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, event wear and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Gold Sponsor $15,000 (qty 4)

  • Podium recognition at 20th Anniversary banquet and awards ceremony
  • Podium recognition during conference proceedings
  • Podium speaker introduction as sponsor of ONE of the following speakers: Monday opening keynote, Tuesday luncheon keynote, Wednesday luncheon keynote
  • 10 complimentary conference registrations
  • One double exhibit booth (10’ x 20’) in the exhibit hall
  • VIP seating at front of conference hall
  • Full-page, 4-color ad in 20th anniversary banquet and awards ceremony program
  • Full-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Log on conference giveaway
  • Company profile, logo, and contact information in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, event wear and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Silver Sponsor $10,000 (qty 6)

  • Podium recognition as sponsor of ONE of the following event meals: Monday breakfast, Monday luncheon, Tuesday breakfast, Tuesday luncheon, Wednesday breakfast, Wednesday luncheon
  • Six complimentary conference registrations
  • One single exhibit booth (10’ x 10’) in exhibit hall
  • VIP seating near mainstage
  • ¾-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Recognition (with logo) in rotating signage from conference main stage
  • 50-word profile of company/organization in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Hot Spot Sponsor $10,000 (qty 1)

  • Podium recognition as wi-fi hot spot sponsor
  • Conference wi-fi hot spot named after company/organization
  • Six complimentary conference registrations
  • VIP seating near mainstage
  • Recognition (with logo) in rotating signage from conference main stage
  • 50-word profile of company/organization in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Pre-Event Kickoff Dinner Sponsor $7,500 (qty 1)

  • Dinner with keynotes prior to the first day of the event
  • Six complimentary conference registrations
  • One single booth (10’ x 10’) in exhibit hall
  • ½-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Recognition (with logo) in rotating signage from main stage
  • 50-word profile of company/organization in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Bronze Sponsor $5,000 (qty 8-10)

  • Four complimentary conference registrations
  • One single booth (10’ x 10’) in exhibit hall
  • ½-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Recognition (with logo) in rotating signage from main stage
  • 50-word profile of company/organization in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Exhibitor Plus $2,500 (shares exhibit hall capacity with Exhibitor level)

  • Listing as co-sponsor of exhibit hall
  • Two complimentary conference registration passes
  • One single booth (10’ x 10’) in the exhibit hall
  • ¼-page, 4-color ad in conference program
  • Logo on conference signage, event promotions, and event website
  • Organization name, website, and contact info in conference brochure
  • Attendee email list
  • Option to participate in ongoing event-day promotions
  • Organization profile included in pre-event social media promotions

Exhibitor $950 (shares exhibit hall capacity with Exhibitor Plus level)

  • One single booth (10’ x 10’) in the exhibit hall
  • One complimentary registration to conference
  • Logo on conference signage and event website
  • Attendee email list
  • Organization listed in conference program and event website

Patron $500 (unlimited)

  • Logo on conference signage and event website
  • Organization listed in conference program and event website

A note about kick-off dinners, evening awards banquets, off-hour city tours, and other events-within-events: the cost impact and resulting registration fee should be calculated separately. You will want to track the total operating budget for these mini-events and the total number of paying attendees to determine if the function helps or hinders the success of your event.

topic ideas for Christian leadership conference

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fundraising ideas

Fundraising Ideas

After working with non-profits for years, I have seen plenty of wins on the fundraising front… and plenty of fails. Many organizations struggle with fundraising unless they’ve placed a real focus on it. You have two goals in any fundraising activity:

  1. Raise awareness and build community for a cause by drawing attention to the problem and presenting your organization as part of the solution.
  2. Make money. (Yes, it’s an unfortunate fact: Even humanity’s most noble causes require time, effort and resources to support.)

The downside: It often feels disingenuous to be seeking out money when our mission is so big in our hearts.

Yet, without the time, energy and resources of others, we’re often quite limited in the impact we can have for our cause.

So, raise funds we must. Cultivating donors, sponsors and supporters takes time, just as with any audience. And now you’re not just looking for an audience; you’re looking for an activated audience. You’re looking for folks who will invest in you and your cause; folks who will join you in putting some skin in the game.

In “maximum information per square inch” style, here is a list of fundraising activities you can use to advance your efforts:

Online Fundraising

  1. Register with larger retailers to receive a kickback for your audience’s purchases (e.g. Amazon Smile).
  2. Use Facebook and Qgiv ‘Donate Now’ buttons. (Not in a position to take donations online? Ask us. It’s free to get set up.)
  3. Text donations.
  4. Online auctions.
  5. Peer-to-peer fundraising.

Don’t forget to include in your messaging contact details for inquiries and links to your donation and volunteer web pages.

Most event and sponsorship activities can be promoted online, either sporadically or in a concentrated blitz (think “telethon” but across social media and your email list.) Treat the campaign as an event of its own. This means you’ll send out notices a few months in advance, you’ll be releasing images, infographics, videos and stories to pull on heart strings, etc., leading up to the big day. Can you involve the press? Are you reaching your fundraising goal? Be sure to regularly communicate your progress to your audience along the way.

fundraisers polar plunge

Sponsorships

This fundraising category includes

  1. growing beards,
  2. shaving heads,
  3. skydiving,
  4. running races,
  5. bidding to name a beer or dish,
  6. wacky costumes and
  7. generally making good on outrageous dares so nay-sayers can put their money where their mouths are. Physical challenges (check with a doctor first) may include
  8. bzillion step challenges or
  9. workout challenges,
  10. cold water plunges or
  11. hunger challenges (water-only fast for a day or weekend).
  12. Company-matches-employee-donation campaigns.
  13. Local restaurants may help underwrite events or your organization in return for sharing their logo.
  14. Executive lock-ups (where people call everyone in their contact lists until they post their fundraising goal as “bail”.)
  15. Ask businesses to assist in underwriting your next event and work with them to design their own sponsorship package.

fundraisers donations

Donations

  1. Vehicle donations,
  2. prime parking spot exchange,
  3. employee jean days,
  4. change drive (think ‘tip jars’ at numerous businesses across your city,) and
  5. giving trees.
  6. Skip-a-meal campaigns (lunch money saved goes to cause.)
  7. Work with bottle-deposit locations to ask bottle/can collectors if they would like to give their bottle returns as a donation to your cause.
  8. You can even donate babysitting money.

Events

Most events will make their money at admission, however there are other opportunities to advance sponsorships, raffles, product sales, etc., at the event. Are local clearances, additional insurance or personal waivers needed? Begin advertising your events with save-the-date messaging around four to five months in advance. Remember to schedule the venue, catering, staff and volunteers, videographer or photographer well in advance (sometimes a year or more in advance.) Is there an opportunity to get a public service announcement (PSA) to the local news outlets? More ideas for marketing your event..

best event marketing ideas

On with the download..

  1. Photo booths (rented or make-shift),
  2. dunk tanks,
  3. celebrity appearances,
  4. karaoke,
  5. face-painting,
  6. ice cream socials,
  7. soup dinners (where local artists donate bowls patrons purchase and receive their soup in),
  8. talent shows,
  9. craft fairs,
  10. car washes,
  11. movie nights,
  12. silent auctions,
  13. lunch ‘n’ learns and
  14. pool parties.
  15. Work out a deal with a local restaurant for a breakfast or dinner ‘mob’ where so many plates translates into x% donated by the restaurant.
  16. 50/50 raffles for packages donated by local businesses,
  17. pancake breakfasts,
  18. community restoration projects,
  19. concerts and
  20. open-mic story-hours.

Events: Informational and Classes

  1. Music lessons,
  2. art classes,
  3. dance lessons,
  4. cooking classes,
  5. guided city or forest tours,
  6. after-hours museum, zoo or aquarium dinner tours; all can be a wonderful time for networking and giving.

fundraisers 5k races

Events: Competitions and Tournaments

  1. Adult spelling-bees,
  2. “Are You Smarter than a 4th Grader” adult vs kid trivia face-offs,
  3. oratory contests,
  4. photo contests,
  5. baking, chili or BBQ contests,
  6. golf, croquet or softball matches,
  7. fantasy football leagues,
  8. 5K runs (with or without obstacle courses),
  9. marathons, bi- and triathlons (really anything with “thon” at the end),
  10. ping pong, darts, bowling,
  11. scavenger hunts (entry fee plus pay extra to unlock short-cuts),
  12. corn hole, volleyball,
  13. design competitions and
  14. board games.

Events: Holiday Themes

  1. Ornament swaps,
  2. cookie swaps,
  3. not-so-spooky haunted houses (better: house of blessings),
  4. corn mazes,
  5. egg hunts, or
  6. a visit from Santa Claus.

Sell Something

Sales can happen anywhere. High school games, fairs and festivals, farmer’s markets—even through a food-truck in a parking lot.

fundraisers bake sales

  1. Cookbooks,
  2. household items,
  3. clothing,
  4. baked goods,
  5. art,
  6. candles,
  7. candy,
  8. popcorn,
  9. book swaps,
  10. tree saplings,
  11. lapel pins, or
  12. club memberships.
  13. Talent auctions (accounting, housekeeping, photography, etc.)
  14. Awareness bracelets.
  15. Hot chocolate booth (borrow machine from local restaurant or catering company in exchange for advertising them at the event.)
  16. Hold a community yard sale.

Sell Something: Holiday Themes

  1. Sell singing telegrams/carols,
  2. chocolates/candy,
  3. flowers or
  4. cards.
  5. Work with a local retailer to provide holiday gift-wrapping.

Gaming

At risk of being told this was forgotten, I want to acknowledge, that yes, there are opportunities to go Las Vegas-style in order to advance your cause. However, a word of caution: Is gambling on basketball brackets, Bingo, or Poker how you want your organization to be associated with your cause? In some areas, gambling or betting on sports games is even illegal, so best check with local authorities if you think this is something you want to explore.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, if you made it to the end of the list, you have realized that you can layer several of these ideas together at any given time. Yes, you can have an absolute fundraising feast. Just be sure you don’t get so busy chasing sustainability that you lose sight of the cause you’re sustaining.

Go forth and conquer.

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Have more fundraising ideas you would like to see added to this list? Leave a comment below!

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Why We Teamed with Qgiv for Online Donations

church donationsWhen the request first came to us, it arrived as a desire for a PayPal alternative. News to us, we discovered from our client PayPal offers financial support to organizations that don’t really support the ideals shared by our churches and faith-based organizations.

Let’s just say there are some concerns about the sanctity of human life.

So the search began. We reviewed a number of online donation systems. We looked at rates, client-bases, support levels and technology. Oh, and and we asked about who they financially supported.

And now we’ve partnered with Qgiv.

As their site boasts, fundraisers who use Qgiv process 39% more donations than they did before, and those donations are 160% greater than the industry average. Seems kind of impressive, but how do we know that 39% increase in donations isn’t just because now you’re able to take donations online? And does the 160 number include offline donations? If so, that might be explained by the 39% increase in donations, right?

We had to look deeper.

Alright. We know your members want to donate using their debit or credit cards instead of using cash or checks. The intuitive Qgiv platform makes that easy. Your donation forms and events will be beautiful and user-friendly on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. But what does it cost?

Using the Qqiv free account for nonprofits, your fee schedule is low:

$0/mo
3.95% + $0.30 per transaction

Hmm. Pretty competitive, but PayPal offers a lower rate of 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction. Now if the rate was the most important factor, our research would have ended there. However, we already know Qgiv’s heart is better aligned with our own (because we asked them point-blank if they financially supported the organization in question. They checked. They don’t.) Still, we needed to really get a sense for the Qgiv product. Here is a list of the Qgiv standard features. Power and extensibility just go up from here into the paid plans. Levaire and the Qgiv team will work with you to ensure your donations work smoothly and securely. Setup is free.

qgiv example

  • Positions you for receiving year-round giving
  • Mobile-responsive giving – Supporters can give easily from their mobile devices
  • Smooth email and social sharing – True: fundraisers who share their pages through email and social posts raise more money.
  • Recurring donations and donor accounts – Your donors can customize frequency, start dates, and end dates for ongoing support.
  • Unlimited event registrations – Take event registrations on your donation form, virtual terminal, or kiosk.
  • Unlimited donation forms
  • Customizable landing & confirmation pages
  • Powerful donor receipts system
  • Donation dedications
  • Unlimited users
  • Account owner dashboard and reporting
  • Easy-to-use form builders and widgets
  • Online virtual terminal for in-person gifts
  • Unlimited email and phone support
  • Convenient donor summaries
  • Free live Qgiv training

Need to track your fundraising? Sounds like something you should be doing, right? Whether you need to know how much money you’ve raised this month or how many donors have given to a particular campaign, the information you need is right at your fingertips.

Then we began working with Qgiv. Don’t be surprised at the diligence with which they meet your account. These people are serious about your security and the security of your donors. After a little coordination and paperwork, your church or nonprofit will be ready to accept donations online, securely and elegantly.

Questions? Interested in getting started? Send us a note!

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