Fundraising on a Budget

Tim Ahern | October 4, 2019

When it comes to raising money, the less you spend, the better. If it costs thousands of dollars to raise thousands of dollars, you may have trouble reaching your goal. The good news is, with some careful planning, you can get great results while keeping your up-front investment to a minimum. Here are a few tips to help you spend less and raise more.

Plan Your Expenses

Awareness is the best way to control your spending. Sit down at the start of each fundraising season and draw up a budget, allocating spending for each area. Start with fixed costs like the office space you lease or the staff members you pay, then expand to event-specific expenses. This includes any money you’ll spend on promotion and marketing, as well as decorations and cleanup for any events you’re hosting. You can refine this budget as you go, but it will at least give you a good starting point.

Utilize Your Connections

Chances are you have board members or avid supporters who are well-connected in your community. They may be able to pick up the phone and line up a friend to sponsor a table or donate food for your event. They may also be willing to host an event in their own home or place of business in order to show support. If they are enthusiastic about your cause, they’ll be honored that you reached out to ask for their help.

Go Digital

Marketing can be expensive, but digital is not only free, but great for reaching your target audience quickly. Make sure your website shows up in web searches and that once visitors land on your homepage, it’s easy to get answers to any questions they might have. In addition to a solid website, your nonprofit should have pages on the social media platforms your potential donors are likely to frequent, and also encourage your volunteers and supporters to post about your activities.

Work on Donor Retention

You’ll spend at least 50 percent more, on average, to attract a new donor than the money that donor will bring in. That means every new donor who pledges supports will need to continue to donate for multiple years for you to recover that initial expense. Donor retention should be a large part of your strategy each year. One great way to do that is to find ways to see your donors face to face so that you can share your mutual passion for your organization. You should also stay active on social media throughout the year, sharing photos and news even when you don’t have an active campaign. This will show that you’re not just interested in interacting with the community when it’s time to raise funds.

Setting a budget and following it is only the beginning. At the end of each fundraising season, you should also set aside time to review your budget and determine exactly how much you spent. You can compare these amounts to what you initially estimated and learn about your organization’s spending habits. This will help you the next time you sit down to create a budget for a fundraiser. Check out more fundraising tips that can help you get better results from each campaign.