Is Your Non-Profit Losing Money?

American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer always has me speak at their Corporate Sponsorship event… I am the one that does the “ask”:

I’m a compelling speaker and it feels different coming from a third party.

Because I’m a business owner I tap into the WHY – it’s good for business to stroke a big check. Exposure, brand loyalty, differentiation, etc.

With this said…

I love supporting my favorite non-profits. But please don’t tell me that you’re not a ‘real’ business. Don’t tell me that money doesn’t matter to you. Why? Because I’ll run screaming out of the room!

I get it!

You created or work for a non-profit organization that’s helping to save the whales, finding shelter animals forever homes, or empowering abused women to start their own businesses. But make no mistake about it – your organization is a BUSINESS. If you’re not fundraising like a small business, you’re probably bleeding money left and right. Continue to do this, and you may have to dissolve your nonprofit organization. Read on to discover how to fundraise like a small business.

7 Solutions to Fundraise like a Small Business

1. Spend money.

Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Keep pinching your pennies and that’s all you have. Loosen the purse strings and spend money on resources that can get you ‘real’ results such as online fundraising programs, business consulting, and technologies. Combined together, these can increase your annual donations and overall funding.

2. Use digital (online) marketing.

More than 100 billion people are active on Facebook! If your non-profit needs to raise funds to buy solar panels to help those in poorer countries get electricity, you missed a huge opportunity to make this a reality. While Facebook is becoming more ‘play to pay’, done right, you can drive organic traffic to donation campaigns and your website. The money you spend on sponsored ads and boosting posts will be a drop in the bucket compared to the funds your non-profit organization raises. Social media marketing isn’t going anywhere. Become friends with it and grow your fundraising at the same time.

3. Don’t ignore media outlets.

Using a combination of print, radio, and TV is a great marketing strategy that can increase nonprofit fundraising dollars. Think about this. Most people listen to the radio when they drive to and from work. Gotta have the latest traffic and weather updates! Why not take advantage of listenership to raise awareness and dollars for your nonprofit? A 30-second spot or better yet, 15 minute interview time can double, even triple fundraising dollars.

4. Teach employees and volunteers how to sell.

Are you passionate about your non-profit and tell everyone you meet about it? Congratulations! You’ve been selling all along. Selling is about persuasion and negotiation. But, you must be enthusiastic about what you are selling. In your case, you’re selling your non-profit’s mission and vision to corporations and individuals who can partner with and support your non-profit. Teach employees and volunteers how to sell like a small business (get a tax deduction for charitable contributions) and money will rush into your non-profit faster than fans going to a Taylor Swift concert!

5. Tap into the millennial generation.

Numbers don’t lie! By 2020, those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce. But many myths surround millennials. For example, all they want is unlimited vacation and to save the world. The fact is they want job and salary advancement and would like to make a positive impact at work in the world. Market to this generation using the latest technologies, and you can certainly raise your fundraising dollars and recruit employees and volunteers at the same time.

6. Upgrade your website.

You have a website, right? If your nonprofit organization is not on the internet, you’re missing out on thousands, potentially millions of dollars. Within seconds, a Donate button can boost your fundraising dollars. If you have a website, hire a web designer to analyze and optimize it.

7. Develop an outstanding mission and vision.

What is your BIG WHY for starting and/or running a non-profit organization? Do you know your mission and vision statements backward and forward? If you don’t, how do you expect to fundraise like a small business if you don’t even know ‘why’ you’re doing what you’re doing? Create a mission and vision statement that rocks and use it to increase fundraising dollars.

Boost Your Fundraising Dollars

It’s admirable that you want to start or run a non-profit organization that can make the world a better place. But you need to fundraise like a small business! You want to be a profitable non-profit organization. The money you raise goes back into your organization to support its mission and vision. If you think about it, for-profit organizations do the same. Profits get reinvested into the business, human resources, etc. Start fundraising like a small business and boost your donations today!


Give me a call, stop by the office, or shoot me an email. Let’s. Make. It. Happen. Together, we can achieve the kind of success you’ve only dreamed of!

Coach Jenn Lee is a small biz strategist, marketing consultant and rockin’ high energy motivational speaker, and the founder of The Work Creative. Obsessed with small business owners and corporations who “get it” Jenn leverages her 25 years corporate sales and marketing experience to speak to small business owners, sales teams and companies across the nation. Her spot-on advice has made her a regular contributor on Orlando’s FOX News, and FOX Business Network, and is often featured in entrepreneurial podcasts and quoted in national magazines .  Follow along at @coachjennlee