Question: We have been stuck at the same level of income for the past three years and can’t seem to break through. What can we do to break through and raise more?
Answer: by Sheryl Soukup, CFRE, President, Soukup Strategic Solutions.
There are many ways to raise more money. However, the main thing to consider when you are really in a revenue rut is: Diversify your revenue streams. In other words, raise money from a variety of different avenues. i.e., program income, grants, special events, online fundraising, donor cultivation, major gifts, and smaller gift levels.
Have you looked at the three-legged stool? For nonprofits, if you do these three things, then you will be raising more money through fundraising:
- Acquire new donors: There are many ways to acquire new donors. First, look at the strategies that you are using to acquire new donors and really push to set some goals that will allow you to stretch limits beyond where you have been in the past. To determine if your goals are being met, look at the numbers monthly. Based on these numbers, determine the level of attention this may need that month.
- Retain existing donors: A lot of donor retention has to do with communicating with the donors to ensure that they are aware of the impact they are having on your nonprofit. Another positive from the increased communication is that your donors will know that you appreciate and are aware of their generosity to your organization.
- Increasing your average gift size: First, ensure that the current donors know how appreciative you are for their current gifts and the impact that their current gifts are having on the organization. Next, make efforts for current donors to increase their average gift size. The goal is to see an increase in average gift size for current donors year after year. One way to do this is by looking at your gift data, and understanding who is giving to your organization.
Try to take the top donors in your database and move them through the donor development cycle. Cultivate the donors within your database that have the largest capacity, affinity, and propensity for your mission. These donors are your top donors to your organization. After you make this determination, ensure that those who have the largest capacity to give, propensity to give, and affinity to your cause are the individuals you are working most closely and communicating with in ways that they want to be communicated with. You know their preferred mode of communication if you are in frequent communication with them. If you are to expect a major gift or a gift that is higher than your average gift size, it is likely to come from one of these individuals. Major gift sizes will vary based on the size of organization. For a small-sized nonprofit, a “major gift” may be $1,000. For a larger nonprofit, this may be $50,000-$100,000 or more.