How can I achieve my ambitious nonprofit fundraising goal in 60 days?
August 27, 2014 3:42 PM   Subscribe

I have two months to raise $6000 for an educational animal facility in southern Ontario. I need tips on how I can possibly achieve this goal on a crowdsourcing site. I've succeeded at raising $1000 in the past, but that's the limit of my experience with fundraising. My nonprofit is new and we don't yet have an established presence or an established donor base. Should I look for corporate sponsors? If so, what would that meeting look like and who might be sympathetic to my cause? How do I even make the initial approach?

In the past, I raised the $1000 entirely through my Twitter presence. I approached hundreds of people individually. It was very inefficient (it took months), painstaking, and awkward. For this much larger goal, I'd prefer to try something different.
posted by quiet earth to Work & Money (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I would definitely reach out to corporate sponsors - especially local businesses.

Is there a specific thing that you're fundraising for? Is this an event? Or are you trying to build/save something specific at the facility? Mention this in your pitch.

This depends a lot on your local media climate, but you could try to get some press on this. If you can write a halfway-decent press release and get it in front of the media on a slow news day, they might help publicize your event. Again, having some kind of pitch is helpful.

You could also try to build some kind of recognition for your sponsors. Have sponsor levels with associated recognition. For example, donate $100 and you'll be a bronze sponsor with your name in our newsletter. Donate $250 and your name will go on a plaque. Donate $500 as a silver sponsor and your name and company logo will go on a plaque.
posted by radioamy at 4:09 PM on August 27, 2014

I really liked this Project that gave people "naming rights' in exchange for donations. Obviously it works significantly better if your non-profit deals with things that can be named (can your animals be named?), but I like the idea and the concept. Can some of the money that you fundraise be "in kind" donation stuff and are you an established charity that people would get a tax deduction (or Canadian equivalent) for? Depending on what exactly you do, you could give people titles like "Official mouse provider of the raptor center" or something like that in exchange for a donation, put their logo on your facebook/twitter/whatever pages. Can any of thisbe small neighborhood grant type stuff? Would also look into businesses that might have small (to them) $500 or so grants for specific things up their alley.
posted by jessamyn at 4:15 PM on August 27, 2014

Roman Mars, who has done two hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns, has described his successful crowdfunding strategy this way: Come with a posse, don't come to find your posse.

(His first Kickstarter, $170,477 on a $42,000 goal and his second, $375,193 on a $50,000 goal.)

It's all about your lists. Email lists, social media followers lists, friends lists, family lists, business and professional lists. Get those together. Everything, all of it, within the bounds of ethics, as far back in time and career as you can go. Email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, everywhere you have a presence. You need every single legitimate contact you can find. There's no magic friend-of-a-friend that happens. YOU are the friend they need to be the friend of. You're the axle in the center of the wheel. Don't count on some magic virality thing happening; it almost never does unless you're well-known. (Roman, for example, is well-known in public radio circles because he is super-cool and nice.) You're going to count on people who know you.

There is a decent webinar with Roman about Kickstarter here. Some of it is basic but some of it is not. There's more here, including slides and audio.

Good luck!
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:08 PM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does your org have a board of directors? They should be onboard with your fundraising plan and ideally be contributing and helping fundraise themselves as well.

If you don't already have a client base/donor base, the best use of your time will be seeking corporate sponsors.

I'm a grant writer in Ottawa. Memail me and I can do some research to see if there are any grant opportunities that might work.
posted by betsybetsy at 5:22 PM on August 27, 2014

Look into small grant-making organizations, maybe? I found a few possibilities:

Hylcan Foundation (near bottom of page)
Grant applications are accepted from registered charities fitting the following categories: health and social service, education, arts and animal welfare. Grants range from approximately $1,000-$25,000. The Hylcan Foundation accepts grant applications from registered charities across Canada that have been advised to apply and that fit within the following categories: health and social service, education, arts and animal welfare. Applications are reviewed each May and October, and applicants are asked to discuss their prospective project with the coordinator of the program before submitting an application. Grants range from approximately $1,000-$25,000.

Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada
(The timing is wrong for your purposes, but maybe if you get in touch they can point you to other resources; or maybe they would be good funders for next year.)

Our FOCUS: The AWFC will
- Promote educational initiatives that improve the welfare of animals in Canada.
- Promote research initiatives that improve the welfare of animals in Canada.
- Strategically allocate the AWFC’s resources to projects that best promote animal welfare.
- Preferentially support activities that are not funded by other granting agencies and have a national emphasis.
- Preferentially support activities that enhance the visibility and long term viability of the AWFC.

Animal Aid Foundation
Established in Ontario in 2006. Priority areas of interest for funding are: spay/neuter, veterinary medical care, adoption and public education programs. Grants are only available to organizations that hold registered charitable status.
posted by aka burlap at 5:24 PM on August 27, 2014

Can you please tell us more about why the organization needs $6000, why the deadline, what it's going to use the money for, etc.? Then we can better tailor our suggestions to fit the circumstances.

I ask because "If we don't raise $6000 before this hard deadline, these cute wild animals we've been rehabilitating will be euthanized" calls for a different approach than "We'd like to raise $6000 to print informational booklets to distribute in local schools, ideally before Christmas."

Also, knowing more about what your organization plans to spend the money on might give us ideas about where you could raise in-kind contributions instead of (or in addition to) cash. Like, for the informational booklets example, maybe you could drastically reduce the amount of cash you need to raise if you could get a printer to donate his/her time.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:52 PM on August 27, 2014

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