When you are starting out, money is tight. Money can get tight as the economy changes. No matter how long you are a nonprofit you will run into lean years. It’s a fact of life. So what are some ways you can gain more funds when money is tight? Here are seven fundraising strategies to use when money is tight.


1. Segment Your Donors

Choose one or two segments to mail your appeal to instead of your whole list. This cuts back on the mailing and printing costs. If you still want to send an appeal out to all your supporters, you can segment by those that have email only and those that have postal addresses only. You can also segment your list by geographical area and mail to one area each mailing.


2. Promote Company Matching Gifts

Do some research in your area for companies that match employees’ gifts. Promote on your social media, website, and any time you are in front of people the companies that have matching gifts. Ask the employees to designate you through their company for the matching gifts. Get a 37-page list of Corporations with Matching Gifts to help.


3. Step Up Your Online Game

Make sure your website is set up and has a donate now button and donation page. Step up your asks in emails. Be careful not to overload your donors with desperate emails. Adding one extra to your appeal schedule probably won’t hurt. Also, ask on social media using the Integrated Appeal Plan can help.


4. Promote Amazon Smile, Kroger, Publix, and Other Company Giving Opportunities

Now is a good time to get signed up with the different programs that give a percentage of their sales if your donors tell them.  Usually, you sign up through their websites and they send you a check every so often. If you are already signed up, promote it on social media, as the P.S. of appeals and emails.


5. Look at Expenses

This is the time to cut any unnecessary expenses and scale back those that you can’t cut completely. When times get better, you can reevaluate bringing those expenses back up to previous levels.  You may find you are able to do more with less.


6. Put Off Expansion Programs

There is a temptation to expand programs when times are tough. Sometimes, it can be done with little expense and larger revenue (if you have a revenue stream set up with your program). Otherwise, put off the expansion until funds are better. Now is not the time for more expense with little reward.


7. Get Creative

Reuse. Do you have an appeal you had professionally created? While I’m not fond of this idea, times are tough. I get it. Rework the professional appeal to include a new ask and story.  Use the structure, just change the information a little. Have someone edit the piece well.


Use the Phone. Instead of following up with a letter or a note, pick up the phone. Talk to your donors and thank them for their previous gift and ask them if they saw the story about (the story you used in your appeal or online). Refresh their memory. Then ask if they were intending to donate. If you are able, ask if they would like to donate right then. If not, how they can easily donate to your cause. Use this practice on your top donors to dramatically increase your donations.


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