Within these past few years, Atlas Finance, and their founder and president, Jack Halfon, have been engaged in various philanthropic projects with the Chabad House Community Center. Their mission was simple. They wanted to provide the under-represented communities of Johannesburg with the tools to grow and thrive each and every day. In a short amount of time, Jack and his company were able to successfully raise awareness, fund, and build two well-functioning, well-resourced libraries through the Grow Your Life campaign. Now for those who think this task is easily accomplished, you are far from right. Something this impactful, especially within the confines of time, takes more than just a positive attitude. Rather, for these opportunities to become tangible entities, there needs to be a foundation in which an organization can run. That is why, for any non-profit, it is imperative that you fundraise in the most efficient and effective way.
What is fundraising? Fundraising is the process of gathering voluntary contributions, mostly money, or other resources from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. There is of course the traditional aspect of fundraising in which you can network your way through friends, family, and businesses. But in order for you to reach your goal, you are going to need to think outside the box. With our digital age, people are able to get information within milliseconds. Presenting an online fundraising account can be one of the most beneficial and effective techniques you can do for your campaign. But it is not simply creating a website. When you are presenting an online platform, you need to make sure you are able to drive your campaign to a large mass of people.
When presenting your organization online, you want to make sure that your ideas, your vision, and the overall process is clearly stated. People want to know not just what their money is going to, but where it is going. Having a strong layout of your logistics of your campaign will play an imperative role in reaching your goals. In addition, come into the mentality as a teacher. You want to make sure that everyone is educated about the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ before donating. Last but not least, make sure your website provides an easy layout to actually donate. If it becomes too convoluted, this can turn people away.
Grab The Public’s Attention
Take for example ALS. Yes, it was fun to challenge people online and dump a bucket of water on their heads, but the message was clear, donate to ALS. Getting the public’s attention is one of the most difficult challenges when fundraising, especially for a non-profit. This goes back to the logistics. Try your best and educate the public of the problem. Some people are not aware of what is going on in their backyard. Having your campaign as a voice to this epidemic may be the game changer you are looking for. In addition, be unique! There are thousands of ways nonprofit organizations organize to the public. ALS did it virally through social media. Others have used a ten-minute video, selling miscellaneous items, or providing a unique experience to help grab the public’s attention. At the end of the day, continue to educate the public. That will be the best way of grabbing their attention.
Once you have grabbed the public’s attention, your next step is to brand yourself in the best possible light. This is an incredibly tough process that takes a lot of consistency, strategy, and time. Organizations such as Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and Americorps (Teach For America, City Year), have built a brand and image that is synonymous with their message. Having a name, logo, imagery, symbol, or anything can be impactful in the beginning stages. But to have it become your brand will take time. Best way to brand your work is by being consistent with the imagery. Replacing a brand is probably more difficult than starting one. Eventually through time, your name, logo, or imagery should be the representative of your mission.
Keep your website simple! Do not try to go overboard with all of the bells and whistles that you can add to your site. Best way to think of this is to put yourself in the mind of a donor. How easily will they be able to navigate through your site? If the answer is questionable, then you should make the appropriate changes. In addition, try and keep the information simplified in your home page so that those who are reading to educate themselves can understand it easily. If they would like to learn more of the technical information such as why the problem started or where the money is going to, make sure you have a tab or links that can provide it for them.
The word transparency gets used so often though when it comes to nonprofits. You want to make sure that you use transparency as a general guiding principle. You want people to understand how you interact in and out of the office. When it comes to donors, be honest with them. Let them know where their money is going to and what impact they can have. If they seem like they are unsettled about giving, approach them on that. Remember, you want them to give. The best way to your success is for them to understand why you need their help. Any other tactic besides honesty will only hurt you in the future.