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Fundraising tips for nonprofits.

     Nonprofit organizations need to sell themselves just as much as for-profit businesses. In this economy more than ever. That means fundraising tips for nonprofits are needed more than ever—especially tips for fundraising in a recession.

     Fundraising is about making a connection with your supporters, volunteers, and the recipients of your services. But weak writing that fails to communicate your message—and clearly call your readers to action—will cost you.

     The facts are simple. We are in a recession, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Planned giving is on the decline. Past donors are reluctant to re-contribute. New donors are scarce. And at the same time, the world needs the help of nonprofits more than ever.

     So let’s be honest. Without supporters your nonprofit is doomed.

     Fundraising in a recession isn’t easy—but it isn’t impossible. In fact, many experts think nonprofits should invest more in their fundraising efforts during recession—not less. Our other articles discuss specific fundraising methods and fundraising campaigns for nonprofits, including how to take advantage of online fundraising. But first, we'll discuss some tips for fundraising in a recession.

Tips for fundraising in a recession

Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t keep your nonprofit’s name—and achievements—in the public eye, you will be forgotten. This will hurt both planned giving and spontaneous giving. Previous donors will discontinue their support. New donors won’t even know who you are.
     There are several affordable fundraising methods for nonprofits to keep your name out there. Send out a regular newsletter or e-newsletter. Send an e-mail touting a recent success. Update your Web site frequently and add original, optimized content. Include links to your Web site in all your communications, and make it easy for visitors to make online donations. (Read our article Fundraising campaigns for nonprofits for more information.)

Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t apologize. Especially when fundraising in a recession, you may be timid to ask supporters for donations. But don’t be. If you’re confident your cause is important, and you continue to convey that to supporters, they’ll be more likely to respond in kind. Even during a recession.

Tell more good than bad. People want to hear the positives, like how your organization is helping, rather than just hearing about the tragedy you’re trying to combat. If donors can clearly picture the good their dollars will do—they are more likely to give. Put another way, adding good to the world is more inspiring than stopping the bad. And research says people respond more positively to the former.
     In our article Fundraising campaigns for nonprofits, we discuss several ways nonprofits can incorporate this in their fundraising campaigns and marketing campaigns. Hired Gun has helped many nonprofits—from grassroots to international—with their fundraising and marketing efforts. Our campaigns convey your accomplishments, forge a connection with your audience, and help increase public awareness and public support.

Write effective fundraising materials. Your fundraising materials should appeal to all types of people. Tell a moving story to appeal to people’s nurturing side. Inform them of something they didn’t know—a news story, a statistic, an emerging trend. Assuage skepticism by answering all their questions upfront. Include clear calls to action, and make it easy for the reader to follow them.

Use the Internet. Online fundraising is taking off as more supporters embrace the ease of Web donations. If your nonprofit isn’t taking full advantage of various online fundraising methods, you’re missing out on a significant and growing source of support. Make sure your nonprofit’s Web site is reader-friendly and answers all of a potential donor’s questions.
     Your online content (all the articles and information on your Web site) must be properly search engine optimized to attract the most visitors and improve your search engine rankings. Nonprofits can also benefit from social media marketing—that is, using social networking sites to build a membership base and keep supporters informed. For more on using the Internet to raise donations, read our article Online fundraising tips for nonprofits.

Keep trying, and try different things. If your fundraising campaigns aren’t raising donations, you may need to adjust your fundraising strategies. If your nonprofit brochures aren’t working, try a direct email campaign. If your newsletter is being widely read, amp up the frequency with which you send it out. If your Web site isn’t drawing any traffic, keep adding optimized online content. Send out press releases, and query editors to get an article in their publication. There are lots of different fundraising, and online fundraising, methods to try. Persistence is one of the most important parts of a successful fundraising campaign. Apply for every eligible grant. When searching for grants for nonprofits, consider all grant sources, including private foundations, corporations, and state and federal government grants. Apply for as many grants as you can to increase your chances of getting funded.

How Hired Gun can help your nonprofit raise support and expand its reach.

     At Hired Gun, we write powerful, affordable fundraising materials for nonprofits of all kinds. Our campaigns capture the reader’s attention, inform them to quell skepticism, inspire them with stories, and call them to action with clear directives.

     We specialize in writing full-length feature articles, success stories, brochures, newsletters, and direct mail/email campaigns. We craft unique, optimized content for your Web site and work to expand your online fundraising efforts. Our professional grant writers make sure your grant proposal stands out from the competition.

     Contact us for more information on our copywriting and grant writing services for nonprofits.

     Read the next article: Fundraising campaigns for nonprofits.

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