5 Ways to Boost Your Fundraising Efficiency



If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you are really busy at your job raising money for your nonprofit. I’ve been there – there’s always too much to do and too little time. This post shares five things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to save time, energy and maybe even your sanity, while raising more money for your mission!

1. Make a Plan (for Your Day)

Hopefully you have a fundraising plan for the whole year but that plan is likely too big-picture to help you focus on what needs to happen today. Start your plan for today with a simple to-do list. Then put your list into today’s calendar with start and end times for each task on your list. That way there’s less risk you’ll spend 5 hours editing a grant proposal when that task could take just 60 minutes. 

Plus it helps to see your whole day laid out and how you’ll need to work around a staff meeting or a dentist appointment to get things done. It also helps to work a day ahead, in other words create tomorrow’s to-do list calendar today. That way you’ll be able to start getting things done first thing in the morning!

Here’s a small step to take right away…

Add three tasks to your calendar for tomorrow. For example, you might add, “write five donor thank you notes” at 2pm and allow 45 minutes to complete it.

2. Tackle Your Most Critical Projects First

I’ve written before about the importance of prioritizing. Tackle the projects that absolutely must get done FIRST. Why wait until 5pm to begin drafting a report that you need for a meeting at 8am tomorrow? 

Here’s a small step to take right away…

If you’ve added three tasks to your calendar for tomorrow, move “must-do” items to the earliest possible time slots. 

3. Focus on Your Top 20%

The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, tells us that 80% of outputs come from 20% of inputs. Applying this principle to fundraising, and specifically your donors, you can boost outputs (i.e. money raised) by spending 80% of your time with 20% of your donors. 

Rather than trying to connect on Facebook with the masses of followers your nonprofit has accrued, it makes more sense to use that time to schedule a handful of key cultivation meetings with your top donors. These folks are already invested in your mission and may consider giving at a higher level if you show them some love! 

Here’s a small step to take right away…

If you don’t know who your top donors are, run a report of all donations to your organization in the past three years. Sort these gifts from highest to lowest and voilà, those donors at the top of the list should be the focus of your work.

4. Use a Donor Management System

A donor management system (or donor database) can do wonders to boost the efficiency of your fundraising program. Why? Because you’ll always know where to find information on specific donors, including past donations, program interests, cultivation touch points, and more. Also, you can use your collective data to segment donors for solicitations and create stewardship plans to maximize donor retention. 

Here’s a small step to take right away…

If you don’t have a donor management system at your nonprofit but you’re interested in exploring this valuable tool, start by reading 10 Common Mistakes in Selecting Donor Databases. You can also shoot me an email at: Kathie@ArroyoFundraising.com and I’ll email you back with a current recommendation for a system that I like and trust (and is affordable).

5. Engage Volunteers

My mother liked to say, “Many hands make light work.” How true it is. Why spend your valuable time on low-level tasks that a few dedicated volunteers could handle? Instead, conserve your time and energy for high-level strategizing or meeting with your top 20% of donors. As a bonus, volunteers become even more engaged in your work and mission and may themselves become donors. Or, if they are donors already, they may be inspired to increase their support.

Here’s a small step to take right away…

Create a list of 5 potential volunteer tasks. Then place an “ad” in your next printed or electronic newsletter inviting your supporters to get more involved by volunteering.

What tips do you have for boosting fundraising efficiency? Please share in the Comments box below!

Special gift for you: My step-by-step guide, Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, is available here (click).