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5. Fundraising - Targeting Your Donors

Of course, you want to reach all the donors you can, because the more people you appeal to for money, the more "yes" responses you are likely to get.  For most non-profit groups, especially the small ones, the very logistics of trying to reach all possible donors are simply impossible.  Advertising in newspapers and on television shows and trying to visit everyone in a city in a direct appeal is simply a lot of work - and a huge expense.  Most non-profit groups can only contact a limited number of people, so you will want to do one of the following:

1) Contact as many people as is humanly possible using the budget you have.

2) Contact only those people who are likely to support your non-profit organization.

In almost every case, option #2 will result in more "yes" answers while using a smaller budget. People who are interested in your cause are more likely to support your fundraiser than the general public, so you need to target these people. If you are targeting only those who are likely to say "yes" to supporting your cause, then you will get more responses of "yes" from this group rather than the general public.

No matter how you decide to go about fundraising, you are going to get rejections and "no" responses, and unfortunately the chances are very high that you will get a large number of them. Do not take this personally. This can be very hard to learn, but it is not you personally that is being rejected, it is the actual donation to your cause that is being rejected. Remember that these negative responses will lower morale, and volunteers will begin to wonder whether they are doing any good at all. If you can reduce the chance of a "no" response, then your volunteers will be happier for longer.

The "no" responses have to be anticipated, and there is no problem with them, except that it has cost your organization time and money in contacting that person directly to make an appeal. In situation #1, you will end up educating and raising awareness for you group, but you will receive more "no" responses than if you appeal to those who are already familiar with your cause.

Advertising can work wonders, but only if it actually reaches its targeted audience. How many advertisements do you receive through the mail each week from different charities? How many of these do you actually read? How many go straight into the recycling bin? How successful was their advertising campaign? Were you a targeted person? Is their appeal successful? Why or why not? You can take all this fundraising campaign literature and use it to your advantage by seeing what does or does not work for other groups.

There are numerous advertisements in both the local and regional newspapers, but how many people actually see those ads, let alone respond to them? How many of the ads in a newspaper do you actually see? Unless you are looking for a particular ad or news item, you have probably programmed yourself not to even see them. I know I have! And if I did see an ad, the chances of my responding to it are very low.

Now using your volunteers to go door to door can be a very daunting tasks. Many people are not home at the time it suits your volunteers to call, and not many people want to open their door after dark, so it means volunteers have to visit on weekends. Even then, if people are home, they may have a policy of not opening the door to strangers, so this strategy is not always successful these days.

 So, if you decide to appeal to a smaller group, but you choose these people carefully, what happens?

Certainly there are disadvantages to this method - you do not raise awareness about your organization over such a wide segment of the population, and you will still get plenty of "no" responses, and even before fundraising, you will have to spend lots of time in order to determine who to target for your appeal.

Despite this, this group is likely to have a higher ratio of "yes" answers in a much shorter period of time, because you are appealing to the very people who are most likely to have the inclination and money to support your cause. The advantages of this second strategy are:

 • The people who are asked are more likely to say "yes." Less convincing is needed and less of a chance of a "no" helps keep volunteer morale high. Plus, donors who have a built-in reason to support your cause are more likely to donate again (presumably, their reasons for donating will still be there next time you hold a fundraiser) so this group is already providing the basis for on-going financial support.

 • By using targeted appeals, your group is able to target people individually. Rather than having many people walk by a stand or pass over an ad, your volunteers are able to meet face to face with these targeted groups and the people who are more likely to help you, reducing the chances of a "no" response.

 • By targeting your donors, you have already built an organization structure. You know who you have to contact and how to appeal to them. There is less risk of overlooking an important donor source or of asking the same people twice.

 • Time and money are saved. Rather than spending lots of time and money on a huge campaign, your group is able to do some research for free at the library and then appeal directly to groups and people that are more likely to be interested and supportive of your cause. Interviews with some groups can easily be set up for free, and government applications and a campus presence would also be inexpensive or free. Less time is wasted talking to those who have no interest in your project.

It is important to undertake some donor and market research before you start fundraising as this will reduce time spent targeting a disinterested audience.  For example, women are probably going to be more interested in supporting a women's center because they understand the issues and problems that women face. But in some cases, the donor target may be less clear. 

Next page: 6. Fundraising - Research

Practical Fundraising Ebook - Table Of Contents

  1. Fundraising - The Basics  
  2. Fundraising - Terminology 
  3. Fundraising - Money 
  4. Fundraising - Where to Find Donors and How to Reach Them 
  5. Fundraising - Targeting Your Donors 
  6. Fundraising - Research 
  7. Fundraising - Your Donors' Needs 
  8. Fundraising - Ideas 
  9. Fundraising - Donated Products 
  10. Fundraising - Bought Products 
  11. Fundraising - Marathons 
  12. Fundraising - Lotteries, raffles and more 
  13. Fundraising - Fairs, Auctions and Bazaars 
  14. Fundraising - Fun Events 
  15. Fundraising - Drives 
  16. Fundraising - Services 
  17. Fundraising - Tips for Choosing a Fundraising Idea 
  18. Fundraising - Your Plan 
  19. Fundraising - Your Team 
  20. Fundraising - Staying Organized 
  21. Fundraising - Communicating With Your Donors 
  22. Fundraising - Advertising 
  23. Fundraising - Letters 
  24. Fundraising - Emails and more 
  25. Fundraising - Person to Person 
  26. Fundraising - Thank You Notes 
  27. Fundraising - Grant Proposals 
  28. Fundraising - Press Releases 
  29. Fundraising - With Computers 
  30. Fundraising - Secrets to Success 
  31. Fundraising - Problems 
  32. Fundraising - Conclusions 


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