Again and again I hear the number one priority for nonprofits, after programmatic execution, is fundraising.  It is a constant focus and time consuming for all staff members, not just those assigned to fundraising.  But this is not news to all my nonprofit friends. What I want to talk about instead  is the reinvigorated role of friend-raising and the shortcut  to create those friends and advocates through wise and affordable marketing.    

It’s all connected, and trends indicate that nonprofits who invest smartly in marketing, or friend-raising,  often generate loyal brand ambassadors who in turn generate more charitable donations for the organization.  A number of articles have been written about the marketing/ fundraising connection. 

Tom Ahern, a leading authority on donor communications, states:  “The heads of development and marketing have to accept that they are oxen pulling the same wagon, a wagon labeled ‘increasing community support'."

Here's another credible website  that outlines the bridge between marketing and fundraising:

In short, the article shows this simple formula:

Marketing   leads to    Friend-raising    leads to    Fundraising          

The challenge is that many nonprofits are not trained or experienced in marketing. They don’t know which techniques generate the most engagement to build relationships.  Nor do they understand the tradeoffs of various marketing vehicles in terms ROI. 

Here are a few guidelines and tips:

1.       Most charitable gifts are initiated by women, and many of them  hang out on social media.  Friend-raising is accelerated via engagement on social media.  It is critical that you have an effective social strategy and post consistently – 2-3x/week.

2.       People of influence with money can be easily targeted with a specific message via digital ads.  Find someone who understands SEO and who can help you with this powerful and affordable marketing technique.

3.       Professional individuals with financial resources often are on LinkedIn, so commit to 2-3 blogs/month.  It keeps you on the radar screen and people begin to understand the persona of your organization.

4.       Invest in a simple website and brand refresh.  Your site and messaging  must connect on an emotional level.  Most nonprofit websites are cluttered and lack a differentiating message.  Potential friends won’t engage with busy, hard to navigate sites.

5.       Offer more but smaller scale events such as sponsored happy hours or hosted wine tastings.  These   provide more opportunity to create a personal relationship with potential donors and do not require as much work to coordinate.

6.       And of course the cardinal rule, follow-up regularly with every single person you meet.  This is often accomplished simply and affordably with a templated newsletter distributed on a regular basis.  This is a must.

For help with any of these strategies, please contact us at:  maryanne@hcollaborative.  Helping nonprofits with affordable friend-raising  is in our DNA!