Earlier in my career, I worked for a training and technical assistance service provider with significant revenue from foundations and corporations. What was the key to success? It was targeted fundraising based on the needs of the donors.
Unfortunately, many organizations take another approach. Donor Prospect Research Software for Nonprofits
send a shower of requests hoping one might land in the right spot. As a board member of a grantmaking organization with no paid staff, I review requests that are based on this "shower" approach. They have little chance of being funded. Why? In most cases, the requests either do not relate to our grantmaking initiatives or the amount of money requested is well above our capabilities.
In the current fundraising environment of fewer dollars and more nonprofits, you can't afford to waste your time and resources. There are four keys to more successful fundraising.
Be clear about who you are
You must be clear about:
The community need you are addressing
How your mission addresses that need
The precise activities or services for which you are seeking support
Who will benefit from these activities or services
Your expected outcomes
Your measures of success
The type and amount of resources you need to achieve your desired results
Invest in prospect research
Once you are clear about your needs, shift your focus to the needs of your potential donors. Learn their history and their unique interests. Learn their guidelines, policies and grantmaking procedures. Learn their funding patterns, including the specific types of grants and the dollar amounts. The more information you gather the more likely it is that you will be able to find a realistic match.
All nonprofits exist to make a difference. But in order to attract funding, you must be able to answer two key questions:
Will your request help the donor meet their philanthropic goals?
In what specific ways will the donor benefit from contributing to your organization?
If you can develop a compelling statement describing "what's in it for them", you have probably found a good match.
In addition, you must demonstrate that you are a mission-focused, results-oriented organization by:
Presenting a well-developed plan for implementing and evaluating your activities
Providing evidence of your competence and capacity to deliver
Documenting that you will be able to sustain your proposed activities.
Build community partnerships
Foundation and corporate funders receive many more requests than they are able to fund. They are keenly aware of the duplication that is prevalent in the nonprofit sector and the large number of nonprofits requesting funds to address related issues.