By: Meghan Traynor

We understand that starting and maintaining a nonprofit can have its challenges. We’re here to help! Here are four ways you can grow your nonprofit into a successful organization.

 1. Build trust.

Building a strong community with your supporters is vital to your organization’s growth. Here are a few ways you can build trust and foster community with your fans:

  • Provide donors with firsthand experiences so they can see your organization in action. Even if they don’t all take you up on your offer, you are still opening the door of trust with them.
  • Provide relevant data about the need in your community and what your organization is doing to meet that need.
  • Be honest and transparent with donors, volunteers, staff, and followers for a meaningful and sustainable impact.
  • Express gratitude. Thank your donors for every gift. Personalize a thank-you letter for each donation and include how it will make an impact in and for your organization. You can even go the extra mile and send a follow-up thank-you note after the donor’s gift has been used that showcases the impact their donation made and, if possible, a testimonial from someone their donation helped.

The more often you communicate and build trust with donors and followers, the more inspired they will be to continue supporting your organizations mission.

2. Diversify your sources of funding.

Strengthen the stability and flexibility of your organization while expanding your impact by diversifying your funding streams. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Go after corporate sponsorships from charities that align with your organization’s mission through grant writing. If you’re new to grant writing or just want to brush up on your skills, we suggest you check out two of our FREE grant writing resources: Checklist for Grant Writers: How to Step Up Grant Writing Success and Your Grant “Library.”. Online directories of funders such as Candid and GrantStation offer nonprofits the resources they need to find potential funders. They even have options to narrow down your search criteria so you can be as specific or as general as you want in your search (i.e., geographical area, areas of interest, target populations, etc.).
  • In-kind donations are non-cash gifts made to your organization. They can be anything from office supplies, volunteer hours, rent-free space, etc. If you’re specific about what in-kind donations your organization needs, you might be more successful than just asking for general in-kind donations.
  • Virtual campaigns and monthly giving programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nonprofits to shift their day-to-day operations and many organizations have had to move their fundraising events online. By creating engaging virtual campaigns, such as an UnGala, virtual 5Ks, online auctions, etc., you’re able to connect with your donors and participants while still bringing in revenue. Not sure what type of virtual event is right for your organization? A quick Google search will give plenty of ideas to get your creative juices flowing! Monthly Giving Programs are also beneficial to nonprofits because they are a reliable source of income. Check out these tips on creating a successful monthly giving program for your organization.

3. Utilize social media.

There are many benefits of using social media to increase awareness of your organizations mission. The key is to build a community with your followers and fans so they will actively engage with your content and share it within their network. Here are a few tips on how to easily engage with your audience:

  • Post frequently. A good rule of thumb is to post three to five times a week.
  • Show fans you care by being responsive to their comments and questions.
  • Use a graphic, video, or GIF with your posts. Research shows content with relevant images gets more views than content without. Consider using a free graphic design software such as Canva to create graphics that align with your brand.
  • Share inspiring, creative, and humorous content (i.e., success stories, behind the scenes, get to know the staff, etc.) to create a dialogue with your donors that shows them they aren’t just a cash machine.

The more followers who are engaged with your organization’s content, the more likely you are to have successful fundraising campaigns.

4. Share testimonials.

There is no better advocate for your organization than those who have seen your work firsthand. Don’t hesitate to ask participants, volunteers, staff, community leaders and supporters for feedback on their experience. Share these testimonials on your website, social media, marketing brochures, etc. The most effective testimonials include a headshot along with the name, title and employer of the person giving the review. If possible, ask your fans to do a short one- to two-minute video testimonial for you to share on your website and social media. Testimonials are important to your organization’s growth because they are more credible than anything you can share yourself.

Follow us this month on Facebook for “20 Ways to Grow Your Nonprofit.” Powerhouse Planning also offers many affordable services to help grow your nonprofit. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help support your mission!