Fundraising in 30 Minutes a Day

Too busy, too busy—don’t have time to fundraise.  Too many folks in the nonprofit sector are like the White Rabbit, racing about and not getting where they need to go. Raising funds is an important part of every nonprofit professional and volunteer.  Without sufficient funds, we cannot meet our missions.  It’s really as simple as that.  And yes, we’re all too busy, have too much on our plates.  The good news is that you can fit serious fundraising into a busy schedule.

The first thing is to recognize that fundraising is all about relationships.  Relationships take time and they take nurturing.  Existing donors are the best prospects for a new gift—if you have treated that donor well.  Too often we don’t.

The rate at which donors cease to be donors is chilling.  Across the board, more than half of first time annual donors never make a second gift.  Up to 30% stop supporting the nonprofit each year thereafter.  With a little effort, you can increase donor retention a lot.

What can you do in 30 minutes a day? 1.     Write personal notes.  They don’t need to be long, but they do need to be genuine.  If you took 10 minutes to write each note, that’s 3 notes a day, 15 a week, and at least 60 per month.

2.      Call a donor and set up an appointment.  Agreed that the appointments you get will take longer than 30 minutes, but they will be worth the extra time.

3.     Connect with a board member and help him or her connect with their sphere of influence.

4.     Pull together a newsletter, highlighting your best supporters.  These can be donors or volunteers.  They don’t have to be the biggest supporter—highlight someone who just joined you; or someone who has been involved for many years.  Use some of your 30 minutes to interview this person—believe me, you’ll get much more than just a story.

5.     Review your donor database (or whatever passes for a database in your organization).  Who used to support you but hasn’t in a year or so?  Call to find out why—or ask one of your volunteers who knows that person to help you bring this lapsed donor back into the fold.

6.     Go talk to your program people and find out what’s happening on the ground in your organization.  It’s good to remind yourself regularly why what you do is important.

There are many things you can do in 30 minutes a day, but I’ve got to stop now.  I gave myself 30 minutes to write this blg and my time is just about up.

Janet Levine is a consultant, writer and trainer who works with nonprofits and educational organizations, helping them to increase fundraising capacity.  Learn more at