A look at 3 new fundraising strategies

August 22, 2014

A look at 3 new fundraising strategies

No nonprofit organization is immune to change, not even the largest and most established groups. Smaller nonprofits can capture more attention and contributions through effective and innovative outreach, while bigger ones can maintain their presence by reacting to the tastes and preferences of potential donors. Appealing to traditionally strong contributors who curtailed giving during the Great Recession, is an important part of staying relevant, as is reaching out to groups who haven't traditionally been strong donors in the past.

Here's an overview of a few different fundraising techniques that are increasing in popularity in regard to the current economic climate and the preferences of potential donors:

  • Innovative outreach: This tactic isn't necessarily easy, but it is a chance to offer something unique that interests and attracts new contributors. The Chronicle of Philanthropy mentioned the examples of museums offering free admission one day a month and direct advertising to the general public from nonprofits that previously had more focused efforts. Although not every charitable organization is in the same position as an arts group to offer something of value as an enticement, they can still ramp up interactions with the public by focusing on social media campaigns and raising awareness of the good deeds they perform in local communities.
  • Give donors more choice: Although some gifts need to go to general operating expenses and the less-exciting, but necessary, parts of nonprofit operation, more contributions can be attracted by providing options to donors. Offering a selection of different projects can help catch the eye of new contributors, as they will have a concrete idea of where money will be going and how it will help further a nonprofit's mission. Offering follow-up information about the results of these efforts can help enhance this approach, as well.
  • Update scripts: A recent discussion by nonprofit fundraisers on Fundchat pointed to the effectiveness of old standbys, such as soliciting donations over the phone. The improvement of the economy and increased willingness of some potential contributors to provide a gift means the present is a good time to update scripts used to ask for gifts over the phone and in person. Making some changes can freshen up the calls made by staff members and possibly lead to better conversion rates.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


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CCSCT was approached by First NonProfit to discuss its Unemployment Savings Program and ways the program could significantly reduce the amount of unemployment taxes we were paying. At the time, our agency was paying approximately $80,000 per year. First NonProfit conducted an analysis to determine if making the switch would be in our best interest, and it clearly was based on our circumstances. The first year on the program, CCSCT saw a 70% reduction in its unemployment costs and each year, continues to experience further reductions as a result of having minimal claims. Some additional benefits of the program including having a fixed annual cost, an interest-baring reserve account, professional unemployment claims management and representation at all unemployment hearings. This has been one of the best decisions we have made.

Community Council of South Central Texas, Inc., Seguin, TX

We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ