4 Ways to Raise More Money without Increasing Your Fundraising Budget

August 2, 2019

4 Ways to Raise More Money without Increasing Your Fundraising Budget

By Joe Garecht

Your arts and cultural organization offers an amazing experience, and you want to raise more money to enhance your programs, grow your events, and inspire your visitors. But you might be struggling with lacking any additional money in your budget to devote to fundraising.  How can you increase your fundraising revenue without increasing your development budget?

Here are four things you can do – starting today – to raise more money without spending more money on fundraising:


#1: Seek Out Donor Referrals

If you want to raise more money, chances are that you’ll need to find new major and mid-level donors for your organization.  The best – and cheapest – place to find new donors is inside your current donors’ networks.  Many of your donors are willing to introduce you to their friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients, vendors, and others who might be interested in your mission… but only if you ask them to do so.

Sit down with your major and mid-level donors and ask them, “Who else do you know that might be interested in our work?  Would you be willing to introduce me to them?” Some of your donors won’t be interested in making referrals, but some will.  The new prospects they refer will already be predisposed to trusting your organization, because they know a current donor, which will shorten the amount of time needed to move those donors towards making their first gift.


#2: Upgrade Current Donors

Your current donors are the best source of increased funds. Your current donors know you and trust you well enough to have made an investment in your work.  Chances are that if you give them a good reason, they will be willing to increase their gift to you this year.  But just as with referrals, donors will only upgrade if you ask them to do so.

When asking donors to give more this year than they did last year, be sure you thank them for all of their past support, that you tell them why you need more money this year (has your vision expanded? Are you offering new programs or exhibits?), and then directly ask them for an amount that exceeds what they gave last year. Most organizations that aren’t asking for upgrades can raise 5%-10% more this year, without any additional expenditures, just by implementing an upgrade program.


#3: Reactive Lapsed Donors

Another oft-overlooked source of additional revenue is your lapsed donors. Smart development teams have a system in place to identify lapsed donors (those who haven’t given in the past 18-24 months) and to reengage them as quickly as possible.  This can be done cheaply and effectively by having your team send out letters and pick up the phone to call lapsed donors to bring them back into the fold.

Your message for lapsed donors should be simple: we wouldn’t be where we are today without you, thank you for all of your past support, we have a huge vision for the future, we miss you, and we would love to have you more involved with our organization again.


#4: Run a Crowdfunding Campaign

If your organization needs to raise more money for a specific project, without spending any more money, crowdfunding is the way to go.  Best of all, in my experience, running a crowdfunding campaign will not reduce your annual giving revenues.  Most donors like crowdfunding campaigns because they still seem novel and exciting.  And most donors consider them “separate” from your other fundraising campaigns, meaning that they will continue to give to your annual efforts, even after giving to a crowdfunded project.  Every non-profit, no matter how small or large, should be running a crowdfunding campaign every year. 


Tap into these people with Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, a solution that brings the power of crowdsourced fundraising and social giving to nonprofits.

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