Guest post by James Gilmer
New nonprofits have the opportunity to fill so many under-served needs in their community. But how do you communicate the valuable difference you will make to donors? How do you even find the sources of income your nonprofit needs to survive?
The foundation of your nonprofit’s success is its people, specifically your board and volunteers. In your nonprofit’s early stage, your board of directors will determine the organization’s direction, and members should be able to use their money, connections, and ideas to network and gain initial traction in the community. That’s means it’s extremely important to select a board of directors that will actually earn your nonprofit a return.
The next thing is to understand what your donors want from you. To you, your nonprofit’s mission may be the greatest idea since sliced bread. No offense, but your donors won’t see it that way. They need to feel connected to your cause before they give. When you’re speaking with prospective donors, foundations, and corporations, tell a story. Otherwise, you’re just noise.
Equally importantly, donors want to see your 501(c)(3) exemption from the IRS. This status makes your organization exempt from federal income tax and is the first step to fundraising legally. It helps your donors know that you are a legitimate charity. More importantly, they can get a tax deduction when they make a contribution.
Lastly, stay in touch with your donors. After they give, send a thank you note. Invite them to events. Send them updates. Most of all, show them how their contribution made a difference. In that way, you’ll not only earn a gift, but hopefully a life-long supporter.
Author Bio: James Gilmer is a compliance specialist for Harbor Compliance, which establishes 501(c) nonprofits and helps them stay compliant. Harbor Compliance assists charities in every state and several countries abroad. James serves on the Board for two nonprofits in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.