The Different Types of Fundraisers: Part 1

Nonprofits vary widely in the orientation of their activities. There are nonprofits for nearly every cause imaginable: animal rights, child literacy, amateur sporting events, anti-hunger initiatives—the list is endless. What most nonprofits do have in common, however, is a chronic shortage of funds. It seems as if there are never enough resources for mission-critical tasks. To solve this problem, organizations of this nature have devised a number of effective fundraising strategies. Here we’ll explore some ideas relating to fundraising for nonprofits.

Major donor fundraising – While most nonprofits have a rank-and-file membership consisting of sympathizers who kick in small amounts of money, a “major donor” is an individual capable of supplying huge sums. For many nonprofits, maintaining a relationship with just one major donor can vastly enhance organizational functions.

Dealing with a major donor requires developing a one-on-one rapport. Direct mail solicitations are generally inadequate for this purpose—that’s why many nonprofits hold private dinners and meetings with potential major donors to provide a personal touch to their negotiations. Often, a major donor begins as a standard supporter, who is eventually persuaded to boost their contributions. That’s one reason why it’s essential to have reliable donor management software to track your members.

Legacy gift solicitation – Many nonprofits have received a much-needed influx of funds from gifts left to them in a donor’s will. Gifts of this kind are often bestowed unsolicited, but some organizations have taken to improving their chances by helping potential donors set up estate-planning arrangements. It usually requires the same kind of one-on-one approach used on major donors (who are most likely to leave these gifts in their wills).

This approach works best with well-established nonprofits that will likely be around for the foreseeable future. Legacy gifts can take a number of forms, like naming the nonprofit as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a specific bank account.

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