Non-profit work is a thankless job most of the time. Organizations designed to help others are often neglected unless they are significant players with national and international reach. More non-profits operate every year, with more people needing their assistance. It’s not surprising that nonprofits are actively trying to find new and better ways to extend their reach and improve their potential for donations and other support.
Developing Unusual Fundraisers – Gaming, Anyone?
Fundraising is one of the most challenging aspects of running a non-profit. Rather than expensive galas and corporate fundraisers, many nonprofits are turning to new ways of raising money. Organizations are making fundraisers fun and youthful, recognizing the need to shift gears to garner support from younger people and forego reliance on stodgy donors who aren’t loosening their purse strings.
Fundraising gaming competitions have been used successfully by many charities. At least one charity in recent years has raised over a half-million dollars with one gaming fundraiser. Organizations can host a gaming weekend, creating a donations page, and registering participants. On the agreed-upon weekend, players can compete and ask friends, family, and online followers to pledge funds based on how long they play (sort of like a dance marathon). Specific challenges and prizes up the ante for everyone. The bonus? The organizations reach a lot of people who might not otherwise know what the organization does. Other unusual fundraisers include scavenger hunts, casino nights, and cook-offs.
Using State-of-the-Art Communications
Communication is critical when organizing and distributing a nonprofit’s assets, whether it’s products, meals, services, housing, or some other kind of assistance. It’s crucial for staff, volunteers, and those in need all to be able to stay in contact; otherwise, resources may be lost or go unused. Urban Pathways, a New York City-based non-profit helping the homeless become self-sufficient, used a sophisticated but affordable VoIP phone system to ensure they can quickly coordinate their services (including medical wellness, housing, case management, and more) across the city. Websites and social media are also part of today’s non-profit communications strategies. Interactivity and quick response ensure that a younger generation that expects immediate results will be willing to come on board.
Establishing an Events Presence
We’re not talking about being at traditional venues like county fairs, although those are important for pet adoption events and other non-profit activities. Today’s non-profits are showing up with booths at unexpected events such as music festivals, concerts, amusement parks, aquariums, wineries, and more.
The Warped Tour seems like an unlikely site for a non-profit group to set up a booth, but a breast cancer non-profit uses it to get the word out about cancer prevention and treatment options to young women. An organization supporting clean water hosted a family-focused fundraiser at a local aquarium offering various levels of support with activities ranging from a behind-the-scenes tour to an opportunity to feed the dolphins.
For today’s charitable organizations, thinking outside the box can help them find a new group of supporters and serve their community more effectively.