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Putting business back into the non-profit business

One of the biggest downfalls of seemingly successful non-profits after the first five years of opening their doors is lack of diversified funds. Most start-ups receive grants for first year non-profits, which really gets their programming off the ground, but what happens when your organization is no longer new and the original donors move on, sending your charity back to square one?

If fundraising events and personal donations have been part of the strategic plan since day one, your organization is probably doing just fine with the transition out of the rookie years. For those who find themselves wondering how their organization will continue to serve the community when grant money is hard to come by, this article will give you three steps to building profits for your non-profit.

Plan multiple fundraising events that all have different marketing demographics.

The key to having a successful non-profit business is creating ways to diversify your funds. One of the most important ways to bring in money is to plan a fundraiser. Fundraising events not only raise unrestricted funds for your non-profit but they also raise awareness of your organization’s mission and if successful, play a key role in building your brand.

When planning a fundraising event, remember to create more than one event per year and always change the focus group for each event as much as possible.

One reason behind this is to get as many people from different demographics interested in your non-profit as possible. Another major reason for doing this is to prevent from flooding the same market multiple times per year when fundraising; most people who give want to give to multiple organizations, not the same organization multiple times a year.

Get corporate sponsorships for events and marketing campaigns.

Face it, the world is not the same anymore. Companies would rather give their money to non-profit organizations that they know will help impact their business instead of giving it away to any charity that comes knocking. The best way to get a business interested in donating to your organization is to sell them a marketing package that they cannot refuse.

There are many benefits to corporations giving money, most of which involve tax season, what sets your non-profit apart from all of the other charities asking for donations is your marketability. Keep statistics available; know how many people you reach through your website, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and mailing lists. Know your audience and find a company that is willing to pay to reach that audience.

Another fantastic way to engage with potential corporate sponsors is to provide a benefits package when making your pitch. The more you shape your proposal to fit the same model that companies use every day when marketing, the more the potential sponsors will feel comfortable making investments into your business. Non-profits may not be in the business of making money but there is no reason why they cannot run the business side of their charity just as responsibly as corporations- Impress them!

Spend money on marketing and branding your non-profit.

This is a scary one to tackle. The idea of spending the precious money that you are making for your charity on something other than your mission can feel like an irresponsible gamble. Do businesses only succeed by word of mouth and providing good services? No. They market themselves.

Non-profits have to market themselves and create a brand or they will become the best kept secret in town. A charity that offers helpful and necessary programming to the community will only stay alive if they make sure people know that they are doing. Set money aside in the budget and use it for branding opportunities. There are many low-cost advertising venues available now because of the popularity of websites like Facebook and YouTube; use these outlets!

In truth, the gamble of not marketing your organization is far more dangerous than spending the money to get your name out there. The more you treat your charity like a business, the more unrestricted funds you will raise and the more unrestricted funds you raise, the longer your charity will have an impact in the community.

In the end, the more fiscally responsible and marketable your charity becomes, the more corporations will be interested in giving to your cause. Like with any other successful business model, you have to spend money to make money.