Future-Proof Your Fundraising
Our world is changing at an incredibly rapid pace: can your fundraising keep up?
Changing economies, demographics, and interests all have significant influences on fundraising. So how do we innovate our practices to keep up with the pace of change while maintaining our biblically-centered convictions about generosity and fundraising?
To future-proof your fundraising efforts, embrace innovation.
Though the world is in a constant state of upheaval, generous people are still looking for opportunities to be generous. To future-proof your fundraising efforts, embrace innovation. Take care not to shortchange the innovation cycle when you’re exploring new fundraising practices and new income streams.
As economies change, technologies connected to giving change. We’ve seen Kickstarter and Go-Fund-Me and we’re beginning to see more and more nonprofit organizations explore new income streams. Lean into simple applications like Venmo, PayPal, etc., or a charity-oriented solution like Sharing the Credit to make it easy for donors to give.
Consider “affinity partnerships” – creative ways mission-aligned organizations might work together and offer complementary solutions to big problems. Affinity partnerships accomplish two things today’s givers are looking for: increased collaboration and reduced replication. Get upstream of our biggest social challenges and multiply collective impact by partnering with those working in adjacent causes, like FESTA and Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM), who work together to combat food insecurity for at-risk children and families in Central Ohio.
Givers and investors are attracted to “teach a man to fish” solutions such as matching grants, skin-in-the game-scholarships and pay-it-forward structures.
The lines between nonprofit and socially conscious business continue to blur (though maybe not in the eyes of the IRS). It’s increasingly acceptable – desirable even – for small or large businesses like Houston’s Buy on Purpose to donate profits to serve the needs of a community. Give socially conscious businesses easy ways to reflect their purpose and cause-related impact to their customers.
Cul2vate created a fee-for-service income stream with their farm store. The Upstream Collective has adapted to the subscription economy by offering resources to subscribing churches. When you explore these potential sources of income, make sure your services or subscriptions are focused on learning opportunities for those who care about your cause. Provide valued services or resources while equipping those who partner with you to learn and serve in your cause.
Women in Community
Women are historically and consistently generous with their time, talent, and treasure. Exodus 35 and Luke 8 refer to generous women. Women Doing Well surveyed women to learn about women’s needs and giving interests, finding Christian women to be 300% more generous with financial wealth and 400% more generous with their time. Women own 51% of the wealth in the United States. Further, 95% of women will be the financial decision maker in their household at some point in their lives. Seek out female fundraising staff and board members.
Keep up with the pace of change in fundraising by innovating to serve women’s unique approaches to generosity. Women Who Love Young Life is a great example of an organization facilitating women giving in community. Consider a CRM like Virtuous, which doesn’t have built-in limitations when it comes to women in giving.
Mission Increase is teaching a board leadership workshop in October. Consider how you might welcome a new board member; perhaps it’s a woman looking for an opportunity to give and serve in community through your community.
Social media and other technologies have created new global communities...
Social media and other technologies have created new global communities – fandoms, if you will. Understand your audience as “fans” of your organization who are passionate about your cause. Look for ways to go deep with a smaller audience verses shallow with a larger audience. Apps like ThankView and Patreon make it possible for you to customize your communication and create growth steps for your givers that show you know them. Use what’s available and make the effort to tailor your fundraising to individuals while remaining anchored to your biblical reason for being.
An Age-Old Foundation
One thing we must remember: even when innovating in an ever-changing world, our convictions remain the same.
- God is our provider. (Gen. 22:14)
- God’s grace is the prompting for our giving. (2 Cor. 8:1)
- And, God is pleased with willing hearts and gifts offered as acts of worship. (2 Cor. 9:12)
Seasons of change have favored nonprofit giving in particular causes. What doesn’t change is the biblical calling to care for the distressed, to right injustice, to rescue the captive, and to share with the poor. Anchor your work to God’s Word while you innovate to meet the changing landscape of generosity.
Caleb Crider is a trainer, writer, and missiologist. He’s married to Lindsey and has two children: Jonas and Meredith. He specializes in instructional design, adult learning technologies, and outcomes-based education. He is one of the authors of Tradecraft: For The Church On Mission (Upstream Collective, 2nd edition, June 2017). The Criders live in Portland, Oregon, where Caleb serves as Director of Program Innovation at Mission Increase.
Tracy Nordyke serves as the Vice President of Training and Curriculum Development with Mission Increase. She has worked in fundraising for over 25 years including consulting in marketing, communications, and donor discipleship with ministries in every sector of the Christian nonprofit world. Tracy is passionate about sharing the message of biblical generosity; she and her husband Kevin live in Portland, Oregon.