It’s time to stop raising money for your annual fund.

Yep, you read that right.

It’s time to stop thinking about one year at a time. Stop thinking about raising money to keep the lights on.  Ditch the annual fund.

The problem with an annual fund is that it’s all about you. The focus is on your light bill, your payroll, your needs.

That’s some pretty small thinking.

And it will keep you raising small amounts of money.

annual fund

Think about it. Every year, you raise the money you need to fund your mission. You probably slide in right at goal without much room to spare. Then you start all over the next fiscal year.

It’s boring to your donors.

It’s exhausting for you.

It can feel like being trapped inside a box with no way out.

So change it.

You don’t have to stay in the box unless you want to.

If you want to get fully funded and raise all the money your nonprofit needs to fulfill its mission, it’s time to think differently.

It’s time to stop thinking about what your nonprofit needs (your annual fund) and start thinking about what your donors are interested in. It’s time to move from ego-centric fundraising to donor-based fundraising.

Donor-based fundraising is about your donors and what they’re interested in.  It requires you to communicate with them instead of talking at them.

It requires you to think about and talk about your programs differently than you have before. You’ll need to tell stories about people whose lives have been changed. Talk about the impact of your nonprofit in the community.

Think of your nonprofit in terms of areas your donors can get excited about:

  • What are the specific quantifiable programs or projects you have going on that you can clearly describe?
  • Who is being served by the program/project?
  • How are lives changed?
  • Most importantly, what does it cost to run that program/project?

When you can talk to donors about the program or project they are most excited about, you’ll find fundraising gets easier and donors will give more. It makes sense that they’ll support the thing they’re most interested in, doesn’t it?

Nonprofits don’t have needs. The people you serve have needs.

So stop focusing on your need to pay the bills, and start focusing on the lives you’re changing. And raise money for that!