Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why Do So Few Nonprofits Have Annual Funds? And How to Get Started

During the introductions at an annual funds training, only three attendees of fifteen shared that their nonprofit organizations conducted annual appeals. Across the nonprofit world just 50 percent of nonprofits conduct annual appeals. Yet, almost all nonprofits aspire to find more individual donors. Annual appeals form the base of all individual fundraising. So, why is this percentage so low?
· Campaigns do not pay for themselves especially initial ones. In fact, if you only use direct mail, your cost might average $1.50 for every dollar raised. (On the other hand renewals cost $.25 on the dollar raised.)
· At first glace, annual funds appear complex relative to fundraising via special events or grants. They involve databases, writing intriguing letters and requesting funds face-to-face.

However annual funds, when used year after year, create consistent income. Annual fund drives help you sieve though the potentially interested and discover the fiscally committed. Annual funds encourage donor upgrades. Besides providing unrestricted money to your organization, they offer everyone you know the chance to participate in achieving your mission.

To dabble your toe in the annual fund waters, invest time between now and autumn, the most successful request time, to create a mailing list. Include everyone you know. Include your staff and board members. Include former staff and past board members. Include friends, relatives and civic, social and professional acquaintances. Then go back and really include everyone you know. List people you encounter during the year. Add those who attended your events. Add those who contacted you. Then in autumn, ask those with the most potential for a gift face-to-face and to others, send a letter requesting a gift.

Are you committed to obtaining more individual donors? If yes, are you committed enough to add these tasks to your to-do list?

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