donationsGuest post by Rob Wu

Would you like to know how to attract more donors? Do you want to learn professional fundraisers’ secrets?

Of course you do! 

Fundraising is your nonprofit’s lifeblood; funds fuel the impact you make. But thinking of effective ways to raise funds occupies valuable time and energy you could be spending on your programs.

Most of us aren’t professionally trained fundraisers, so it doesn’t come naturally to us. We know how to make an impact, yet we’ve had to learn fundraising the hard way: through trial and error, learning from our mistakes.

Image: oneiroi via Flickr, CC 2.0

But we’ve got great news!

We at CauseVox have launched a free 7-part video series to coach you on fundraising fundamentals. Ruthellen Rubin, CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) and professor of philanthropy at New York University, teaches the series. She distills over 30 years of professional nonprofit fundraising experience and expertise into seven short videos.

Consider these seven tips for getting more donors for your nonprofit a preview of the series:

1. Develop a case for support

Your prospective donors are asking why they should support your nonprofit. You need to clarify why you’re asking for a donation, and sell the successes of your nonprofit. Developing a case for support gets donors to invest in your organization.

People don’t give to charity anymore; they invest in results.

2. Create real, personal, and urgent appeals

The most effective fundraising appeals are real, personal, and urgent. Use compelling storytelling with images and videos to connect a donor’s donation to a tangible impact or result of their donation.

3. Startup founders must have fundraising responsibilities

In a startup nonprofit, the founding team is responsible for setting an example: this team should be the first to donate to the organization so that others will follow their lead.

The amount doesn’t matter; full team participation matters more.

4. Be good stewards

Committing to year-round stewardship will retain current donors and recruit new repeat donors. Their funds are an extension of their faith in the organization and the missions, so remember: you’re not only stewarding their money, you’re stewarding their trust.

Care for your donors by investing in them – send a personalized thank you note; a formal, written thank you note; mid-year update; and a personalized ask the following year.

5. Create annual donors

Where can you look to find more donors? First, focus on your obvious prospects. Recruit from your Board, staff, and volunteers; you could ask your vendors (i.e., accountant, lawyer) for an annual gift. Next, move on to the people that you serve, such as your alumni and constituents.

6. Create a culture of fundraising

Help your Board envision what fundraising success looks like.

Get the entire organization involved in the process by empowering and training everyone on the basics of fundraising, so that they grow comfortable with making an ask.

7. Develop an email strategy

Email is one of the best ways to encourage giving. You must have a set strategy and plan for your emails so that they augment fundraising.

Segment your emails to focus on specific niches of your audience. Personalize the “From” and “Reply To:” fields with a person’s name rather than a department or general inbox.

You’ll find the entire 7-part video series on for free. We hope these fundraising fundamentals will help your nonprofit recruit more donors!

Rob WuRob Wu is the founder of CauseVox, a unique fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations. Prior to CauseVox, he specialized in management consulting for government agencies and non-profits. Rob is also a certified bean counter (CPA) and on leadership with Synergy Ministries (a consultancy).