About the same time last week I was speaking at the New Strategies Program at Georgetown University about audience-centric fundraising, Mark Hrywna at The Nonprofit Times was preparing to release an article that highlights just how much nonprofits need to focus on audience-building and raising more money from individuals.
Here's the one sentence that blew me away 🤯...
Overall, 80 cents of every dollar of nonprofit revenue in the United States comes from government grants or contracts and fees for services.
Less than 10% comes from individuals and less than 1% of revenue comes from companies.🤭
In talking to the 59 nonprofits that attended New Strategies last week, the challenge of raising money from individuals is real. Nonprofits are much too reliant on government money. They need to raise more money from individuals. Period. I would also argue that with success with individuals comes success with companies. As I said during my presentation last week: Corporate partnerships don't build success. They're built on top of it.
"Ok, Joe," you may be asking. "How do I do that?" Here's how I explained it last week.
1. Pick one audience. You could pick Gen Z. Or women 18-34. Or mid-level donors. Or people that live in Raleigh, North Carolina. The options are endless, right? For example, the National Audubon Society is targeting gardeners who want to attract more birds to their gardens. Sounds good to me! 💐
2. Pick one format. This can be a blog, a Facebook page, a podcast, a newsletter, an app, an event. The choices are really endless here, folks. Audubon chose a database.
3. Add email. Whatever format you choose, you have to include email. (Remember, email can also do double duty and be the format.) I'll explain why another time. For now, take my word for it. While Audubon chose a database, you have to include your email to access the results. Wicked smahht.
4. Grow your audience. This is the hard part, but it has to be done. Audubon is growing its database audience through content marketing and targeted online ads.
5. Serve. Don't sell. Just focus on building an audience. You can monetize that audience later. The key is build an audience that knows likes and trusts you. People aren't going to trust you if you're begging them for money from day one.
6. Add companies last. Companies love audiences.❤️When Audubon's database gets big enough they can begin targeting businesses that want access to the audience they've acquired.
I like this approach because it pushes you to build a loyal, engaged audience that may eventually support your organization. That should be your first priority. However, an audience is also an asset that can be leveraged to attract corporate partners. Audience first. Companies last.
✍️ Partnership Notes
2. When his city floods, this chain of mattress stores opens its doors to victims. “I’m a half-capitalist and half-social-worker...I can't let my people drown."
🤑 Marketing Your Cause
1. This UK nonprofit used negative press coverage to raise more money.
2. Five reasons your nonprofit should be sending more email appeals.
3. The National Golf Foundation is targeting a new group of potential players: Stoners. 😙💨
😎 Cool Jobs in Cause
1. Partnerships Manager, LA Wildcats XFL (Beverly Hills, CA)
2. Director of Development & Strategic Partnerships, Chef Ann Foundation (Boulder, CO)
3. Marketing Manager, PRX (Boston)
4. Corporate Relations Director, American Heart Association (Boston, MA)
Have your cause-related job featured here for FREE. Hit reply to this email and give me the details and a link to the position.
🧠🍌 Brain Food
1. The compelling case for focusing on big companies instead of small companies.
2. Can you pay for an event ticket with money from a donor-advised fund?
3. Hmmm 🤔...a smart nonprofit would be thinking about how they could turn kids' sleepovers into fundraisers.
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