Fundraising with No Resources and No Time
Have you got no resources to fundraise, and no time to do it? Here are some ideas and tips….
Having a team of fundraisers is something that every charity and not-for-profit organisation would love, of course. But many of us have little extra time, and limited access to experienced support. All is not lost, however. Here are some ideas about fundraising for the time poor:
- Always start with a plan and a cash target. It need not be pages and pages long – just clear. How much do you need by when? What exactly do you want money for? Who is most likely to fund these things – the lottery? Business sponsors? Individual donors? A private trust or foundation? Choose which routes are best for you. Work backwards from there to set yourself some deadlines, and be realistic about how long tasks might take you.
- Don’t try to raise money from every source possible, even if you think funders expect you to. If your museum or arts centre is not well set up to manage sponsorship relationships with big corporates, then perhaps don’t try – yet.
- Ask yourself – what do we do well already? Is someone in your organisation great at making new contacts? Has a volunteer got excellent research skills? Match the skills to the fundraising task, and don’t worry about their titles and job roles. They can all be part of the fundraising ‘team’.
- If someone in your organisation has good writing skills, then private trusts and foundations might be a great place to start. The deadlines are often stated on websites, so you can plan timetables effectively. Don’t leave one person to write it on their own; a team of 3 who know the project will write it faster.
- If your have never run a donations campaign before, start with a ‘tester’ project that you promote to friends and supporters. Ask for their honest feedback. Would they have given money if the request had come to them unsolicited? How could you tweak your campaign to encourage them and others to give?
- Look at how other charities, arts organisations and heritage sites do their fundraising. Can you adopt some of their best ideas? There is nothing new under the sun, as they say.
- Make sure your organisation has a meaningful presence online. Does your website make it easy for people to find out how to give? Try to limit the number of clicks they need to make to get to a donation request. Could you have a donate button on the homepage?
- Encourage people to visit your website to donate directly, or find out how to give, if you don’t have a donate button. If you are not using social media regularly, find your most knowledgeable and skilled volunteers, trustees or staff to get things happening.
- Start now to fundraise at least a year ahead. Use any other projects coming up soon as opportunities to ‘cultivate’ new contacts and potential supporters. Invite them along and give them special attention.
- Don’t lose heart; fundraising properly takes time and persistence. A contact you made 18 months ago may suddenly find your offer relevant and attractive. Your fundraising efforts will be rewarded if you just keep pushing. Good luck!