Nonprofit Organizations
Fundraising and marketing ideas

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Home | Nonprofits Writing | Fundraising and Marketing

Fundraising and Marketing.

     As every nonprofit organization knows: Without supporters, your mission is doomed. Your nonprofit will need to launch successful fundraising campaigns to raise public support and donations.

     This is more important now than ever. Our nation is in a recession, and nonprofit organizations are facing tougher competition for supporters than ever. But especially in tough times, it is critical that your nonprofit keep its name, its mission and its achievements in the public eye. You’ll be surprised at how generous people can be. And when the economy turns around, you’ll be front and center.

     The cheapest, least labor-intensive fundraising campaigns—those that don’t require much spending or a large number of volunteers—utilize the resources you already have. This means your Web site, your newsletter or e-newsletter and email, in addition to free publication in magazines, newspapers and Internet publications.

     Indeed, thanks to the Internet and online fundraising, many fundraising campaigns are very affordable. Nonprofits can take advantage of several different types of affordable—effective—fundraising campaigns.

Success stories.

          If you’re having trouble raising support, why not ask those whom your organization has helped to help you help others?
          Success stories communicate your mission through the eyes of those who have already benefited. Success stories are a powerful way of illustrating the good that your organization is doing every day.
          Success stories are especially effective for nonprofit organizations. Your donors want to do good in the world—not just try to prevent the bad. Sharing positive stories that are the direct result of your organization’s efforts is a great way to generate long-term support.
          What is a success story? Success stories, also called case studies in business, are one of the most effective—and most underused—fundraising methods for nonprofits. A success story is a highly readable, personal account that highlights one of your organization’s recent successes.
          Success stories are usually 2-4 pages. They may include testimonials from the recipients of your services, direct quotes from organization members, specific details about an instance in which your group met its mission, and the positive results your efforts have brought about.
          For example, if your nonprofit is involved in healthcare, a success story would highlight an individual or a group who was recently helped by your services.
          If your nonprofit builds homes for homeless families, a success story would profile a family who recently moved into one of your homes. It would tell their ‘before’ story, how your organization found them, how you helped them, and the family’s positive outcome as a result. If your nonprofit is involved in addiction recovery, a case study would profile a recovering addict who has received your services.
          Or, if your nonprofit is involved in conservation, a case study might highlight an example of how a particular species has benefited from your efforts, or how you helped preserve some natural habitat by having it declared a designated sanctuary.
          How can my nonprofit use success stories to raise support? Success stories are extremely versatile. In fact, it’s hard to think of a single piece of written material that can be used in so many different ways for fundraising and public awareness. A compelling, well-written success story can bring a significant return on your investment. Once you have written a success story for your nonprofit, or hired someone to do so, get the maximum mileage by using it in the following ways:

  • As a feature on your Web site, with easy links to donation/volunteer pages
  • As an article in your regular Newsletter/ E-Newsletter
  • In educational materials and presentations
  • In grant proposals and progress reports
  • In mailings or e-mailings to members or potential donors
  • As an article (bylined by an organization executive) in magazine, newspaper or other print or online publications
  • Submit it to magazine editors as a query for a full-length feature article
          At Hired Gun Writing, our nonprofit success stories are always engaging and inspiring—but never sappy, guilt-inducing or generic pleas for money. Simply put, we bring your mission to life.
          With our experience in journalism, we quickly and accurately grasp the important and unique benefits of your mission—and bring that out when interviewing your staff and the recipients of your services.
          Hired Gun success stories make a genuine impact. Your readers will remember your organization and its efforts. And they’ll be inspired to join the mission.

Feature articles.

          Full-length feature articles about your nonprofit may be published in magazines, newspapers, or other print or online publications. Often, success stories can be used to query magazine editors and serve as a foot in the door for a full-length feature article.
          You can also publish feature articles on your Web site, in your newsletter or gazette, or elsewhere in your organization’s promotional literature.
          Feature articles help keep your name in the public sphere. Getting your article into a reputable publication will help build your organization’s credibility. Features inform your audience of the need for your organization, illustrate your good works, and call readers to action.
          A feature article is also a great way to introduce a new nonprofit.
          At Hired Gun, our award-winning writers excel at crafting high-quality feature articles. Our articles get great responses from readers and raise support for your mission. Our experience in journalism also means Hired Gun feature articles are more likely to be published in key magazines or other media.

Direct mail/Direct E-mail.

          Direct mail can be an effective fundraising tool for nonprofits. Given the amount of junk mail people get, your direct mail piece must capture your audience immediately. You must communicate your mission—and its importance—in only a few strategic paragraphs. Your direct mail must be engaging, informative and compel readers to act.
          Today, direct email campaigns may be even more effective than traditional direct mail. While the content remains roughly the same, direct email can include direct links to the donation page of your Web site. Plus, with email you avoid postage costs and get your message out immediately.
          One very important part of a successful direct email campaign is the subject line. The few words in your email’s subject line can make or break your campaign. To increase the odds that recipients will open and read your email, make sure they know from the subject line that your message will be worth their time.
          You may want to include helpful, relevant tips in your email, and reference these in the subject line. Using personal words, like ‘ours’ and ‘yours,’ helps to foster a connection and increases the chance a recipient will open your email. Be careful not to make subject lines too long so that they’re cut off in a recipient’s inbox display. Be sure to include a reason why the recipient must open the email now. Otherwise, if they put it off, perhaps intending to get to it later, they’re apt to forget about it and leave it sitting in their inbox.


          If your nonprofit does not publish a regular newsletter or electronic newsletter, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to keep your supporters involved, and to engage new supporters.
          Depending on how much news your organization has to communicate, a newsletter or e-newsletter can be sent out at quarterly, monthly, or other intervals. The number and length of articles will also vary from nonprofit to nonprofit.
          If possible, link the content of your (e)newsletter to current events so your stories are especially relevant. Include a mix of informative articles on issues related to your mission, and those that highlight your organization’s recent works. Always include information about how to donate or volunteer.
          If you send an e-newsletter, include direct links to the donations page of your Web site. Also make sure your Web site visitors see how to sign up to receive your (e)newsletter.
          At Hired Gun, we’re uniquely qualified to create original, engaging newsletters and e-newsletters for your organization at any interval you feel is suitable.

     Contact us today to learn how Hired Gun can help your nonprofit reach out to supporters and further its mission with effective, engaging success stories, feature articles and fundraising materials. Request a free, no obligation estimate to find out how affordable professional marketing materials are when you hire Hired Gun.

      See samples of our work for nonprofits.

      Read the next article: Online fundraising tips for nonprofits.

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