Fundraising Challenges

Fundraising Challenges

Your organization offers a valuable service to the community and you are passionate about raising funds to accomplish your mission. Sometimes, though, the work of raising funds can be a bit daunting. Luckily, Greater Giving is here to make your life easier. Let’s take a look at some fundraising challenges and the tools that can help:

Auction Item and Package Procurement

Gathering the right items for an auction can be a demanding task, but with a little planning, you can make it fun and rewarding.

  • Know your audience. What are their interests? What can they afford? Do they have more time or more disposable income available?
  • Brainstorm ideas. Gather your procurement team together for a “Wish List” party. Have fun, be outrageous and break through your assumptions about what is possible.
  • Develop a plan. Who on your team has the best connections for each item? Make it a friendly competition with prizes for the most items procured.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. Opportunities are everywhere. The more you ask, the more items you’ll receive. Make it easy for donors to say yes.
  • Be ready to close the deal. Have procurement forms with you. Set the date and time for picking up the item well in advance of your event.

See more at Building Better Events webinar.

Recruiting New Donors and Nurturing Relationships with Current Donors

Donors are the lifeblood of a nonprofit. How can you attract new donors and fully engage your existing donors?

  • Find Online Donors. Create a short, easy-to-remember URL for your donation page and include it in your direct mail campaigns and in conversations with potential donors.
  • Build Your Donor Database. The donor data you collect can help you understand your donors better and learn what appeals to them. Learn who is giving to your organization and why. Tailor your appeals to their interests.

Engaging the Board

Your board members are passionate about your cause. If you engage them in the work and make them feel invaluable and appreciated, they can do a lot for your organization.

  • Challenge your board. Set a goal for board giving and give your board a deadline. Talk about your goals and how your board members’ gifts make your work possible.
  • Demonstrate the importance of board gifts. What can you accomplish with $5,000 or $10,000? How many lives can you impact?
  • Provide ways to increase board gifts. Ask board members to participate in a corporate matching gift program. Encourage them to reach out to friends, family and co-workers by adding a blurb in their email signature or a “Donate Now” button they can email to contacts.
  • Ask board members to promote your cause. Your cause is something they care about. Make it easy for them to talk about it. Give them a website or video they can share on social media.
  • Thank board members over and over. Write personal thank you notes. Show them how their gifts had an impact. Thank them publicly.

See more at 5 Simple Steps to Engaging Your Board.

Incorporating Social Media to Fundraise Online

You can unleash tremendous potential by engaging your employees and volunteers in your social media efforts.

  • Recruit your troops. Start with your employees and volunteers who are already using social media. Compile a list of supporters and send them content to amplify.
  • Brand your efforts. Use a hashtag for your organization (e.g. #greatergivinghelps) that your supporters can use to share their experiences across different social media platforms—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
  • Train your people. Hootsuite University is an educational platform with webinars from industry leaders to help your supporters be more effective in their social media efforts.

See more at Doing More With Less – How Nonprofits Build Social Media Armies.

Executing a Consistently Successful Annual Event

A well-organized event not only brings in revenue for this year, but inspires your attendees and volunteers to want to participate again next year.

  • Start early so you have enough time to choose a desirable venue, recruit enough volunteers, procure great auction items, and line up top-notch sponsors.
  • Event management software makes managing your event easier and more efficient. Payment processing technology can virtually eliminate end-of-evening cashier lines. Mobile bidding can drive up revenue for your auction.
  • Staff and Volunteers. Recruit enough volunteers to handle all the tasks for the event and train them well. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them and check in with them often. Your volunteers—and your guests—will appreciate it.
  • Follow-up. Say “Thank you” to everyone involved: your staff, your volunteers, your donors, and your attendees. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to come back.

See more at Benefit Auction Planning Basics.


While paid advertising is expensive, fundraisers can often get their message out through the mainstream media for little or no cost.

  • Understand the media. How does the media decide which stories to run? Who do you contact at your local newspaper or TV station? What format are they expecting from you?
  • Access the media. Build relationships with news anchors and reporters. Bring them to your auction as press or invite them to emcee. Familiarize them with your cause. Provide them with excellent press releases.
  • Prepare for appearances. Once you have secured an interview with the press, make sure you deliver your message clearly and naturally. Dress for the occasion. Use facts and stick to your message.
  • Promote an event. Remember your event is newsworthy. Create a short pitch to send to media outlets. Imagine what your audience wants from this news feature and deliver that message.

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