Top 10 Fundraising Strategies To Raise More Money This Year

Creating your annual fundraising plan can be confusing with all the advice, new strategies and fundraising tools out there.

To help you, I am cutting through all the noise to give you my annual list of specific, actionable strategies for you to focus on to have the most profitable fundraising year yet.

Here’s what all the fundraising gurus are recommending.

Most of these are very simple. They don’t take a lot of time or energy.

But making some small changes now can yield huge financial results for you in the future.  Yes!

#1 Fundraising Strategy for the Year: Build Up Your Donor Loyalty

trendsInfographic 1 out of 4 first donors renews

Only 64% of your current donors are renewing, and only 23% of your NEW donors. Infographic courtesy of Bloomerang.

Donor retention is your place of greatest fundraising opportunity.

Just think how much money you could raise if you could increase the number of people renewing their gifts each year!

Here’s what it takes from you:

  • Create an organization-wide commitment to donors.
  • Focus on the post-gift “Donor Experience.”
  • Adopt “Donor Love” as a primary fundraising strategy.

Donor Retention is not a buzzword, it’s a lifestyle,” says Lynne Wester, our favorite Donor Guru.

#1 Event Strategy: A Well Designed “Fund A Need”


Sherry Truhlar, auctioneer. Check out her blog!

“If you can focus guests’ attention, incorporating a thoughtfully crafted Fund a Need is the easiest way to add bottom-line revenue to an event and new donors to the donor roles,” says our go-to auction expert Sherry Trular.

Here’s how to create a well-designed “fund a need.”

  • Top notch auctioneer skills
  • Right message
  • Single item or cause
  • Offer different pledge levels
  • Start with highest level
  • Make the bids public

#1 Strategy for Major Gifts: Commit to XX Visits Each Month

Try drawing a line in the sand.

Commit to a certain number of visits with major donor prospects each month.

You can’t help but raise tons more money. 🙂donation form fav

#1 Strategy for Website & Donation Page- Simplify Your Donation Form

Take a look at the “Designed” form to the right.

It’s simple and clean.

And appealing.

The more boxes you add, then the more complex it looks to your donors.

And the more you’ll drive your donors away.

#1 Social Media Strategy – Targeted Facebook Ads

One of our favorite go-to social media experts is Derrick Feldman.

He’s also our the Millennial fundraising expert. derrick feldman

He’s recommending this interesting Facebook strategy:

  1. Buy a Facebook ad
  2. Target your existing Facebook followers
  3. Invite them to raise $ for a special event, holiday, or even Giving Tuesday.
  4. Direct them to your site where they can sign up for peer fundraising and receive a toolkit with images and messages to use to raise support.

What a fabulous idea!

#1 Strategy for Your Board and CEO – Train/educate them on what good fundraising looks like today.

Here’s what board members really need to know:

  • The sustainable money is in repeat donors.
  • The big money is in major gifts.
  • Increase your fundraising budget, and you’ll raise more money.
  • Different fundraising strategies have different paybacks.
  • Success requires an internal culture that understands and supports fundraising.

#1 Strategy for Planned Giving – Ask Engaging Questions About Their Will

Claire Meyerhoff, our PG Marketing Guru, says to ask engaging questions that make the donor think:
claire m

Instead of telling your donor:

“Remember General Hospital in your will.

Try an engaging question like:

“Is General Hospital in your will?

Claire says:

You’re engaging your donor with a question and triggering a more lively thought process. “Is it in my will? Really? Do I have a will?” People put the hospital in their will? ”

By begging a question, you’re guiding the reader towards some kind of answer, and maybe the answer will be….”Yes.”

#1 Strategy for Front and Back Office Staff: Appreciate, Train and Support Them

Remember, we have an astonishing level of staff turnover in fundraising.

And your organization takes a huge financial hit when a staff fundraiser leaves.

Mary Craig Tennille, of Excalibur Direct

Mary Craig Tennille, of Excalibur Direct

So how to avoid debilitating turnover? How to get the most out of your staff?

Treat them like the human resources they are.

And here’s another back office tip from your friendly local mail house:

#1 Strategy for your DataBase: clean up your data so you can segment your mailings.

Mary Craig Tennille, VP of Excalibur Direct says her top tip is to

Just think, then you could send messaging to your donors that was really, truly relevant! 

john lepp

John Lepp of Agents for Good nails the right way to approach our donors.

#1 Strategy for Fundraising Appeals: Make Your Donor the Hero

Tom Ahern is always saying “make the donor the hero of your story.” But I see very few people getting this right!

Here’s John Lepp’s advice:

  • “Say thank you until your donor tells you to stop,
  • Find and share all of the things they make possible,
  • Put their picture on a wall in your office and
  • Never, ever, EVER forget that those amazing and blessed humans make your work possible.

#1 Strategy for Messaging and Newsletters: Tell Stories About A Person You’ve Helped

Shanon Doolittle, founder of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference says:

“An amazing story starts with a person. One character your donor can root for and get invested in. That’s where the magic of emotional connection happens.

shanon doolittle

Shanon Doolittle – Donor Happiness Coach

It gives your donor an opportunity to deeply engage with someone else, to identify with them, and feel for them.

That character will become the reason why your donor will care about the story that you’re telling.”

BONUS strategy:

#1 OLD Strategy I’d Revitalize: The Phone

Here’s what Simon Scriver (our go-to phone expert) has to say about the phone:

“Actually, if the call is done right, then they are grateful to hear from you and you can’t get them off the phone!”

“Face to face and phone will always do much better than online and mail fundraising.”


Want more detail on these specific strategies that will help you raise the most money ever this year?

You can purchase my entire hour-long training, jam-packed with content, tips and strategies to substantially increase your funding right now – complete with slides and recordings here:

Gail’s Webinar, PPT and Recordings on:

Top 10 Fundraising Strategies to Help You Raise More Money This Year