Webinar Notes: Fundraising A to Z in Difficult Times

Last week I spent two whole days participating in a  Cooperating Collection webinar, hosted by the Foundation Center.  I took part in sessions that will help me create a better, more effective Cooperating Collection, and also sessions full of tips for nonprofits in tough economic times.  I hope to share some of my notes with you over the next few weeks.

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Fundraising A to Z in Difficult Times was conducted by Michael Seltzer, author of  Securing Your Organization’s Future: A Complete Guide to Fundraising Strategies.

***  The new destination for nonprofit fundraising is sustainable funding, and securing fundraisers rather than donors.  ***

Accentuate the Positive. The recession is the time for NPOs to invest in communications and marketing.  Try to craft a positive message about your cause so it can rise above all the gloom and doom about Wall Street.

Collaborate.  “Much can be gained such as cost savings and enhanced impact through working more closely with others.”  Share physical office space, share events, share online spaces.

Experiment.  Create a small scale, experimental initiative or campaign.  Less start up investment, less effort, but still can land you in the public’s eye.

Fundraise Selectively.  No shotgun fundraising!  Engage your supporters in your organization.  Don’t call them donors – call them members or stakeholders.

Get Rid of Dead Wood.  “The times require all hands on deck.  Make it attractive for board members that are not pulling their weight to rotate off the board.”  Create “post board service” opportunities to help gracefully transition less effective baord members off the board.  If you want better people on your board, change your message when recruiting board members.  Sitting on a board is a civic opportunity and a position of honor!  Make sure your organization treats (and promotes) it as such.

Join Forces. Explore group purchasing plans to create cost savings.  There is more to gain than lose in the sharing of information and resources with other NPOs.   Cooperating Collections can be meeting grounds for the NPOs in the community.

Look to the Future.  “Organizations will prevail if they are prepared to innovate and reinvent themselves.”  Example:  selling Girl Scout cookies online.  Genius!

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