CEO Insights: Diversifying Revenue Streams

April 16, 2020
3 min
Justin is Funraise's CEO, a co-founder, and a bad-ass, experienced nonprofit fundraiser. Like a true fundraiser-turned-founder, he breaks down the concepts behind Funraise's mission everywhere he can make nonprofits' voices heard.

Diversifying your revenue stream as a nonprofit is crucial.

When I was fundraising at LiNK, our major funder told us that he wanted to be no more than 25% of our total revenue in two years.

This meant we had two options:

  1. Add several MILLION of new revenue so that his donation would only make up 25% of our funding.
  2. Plan for the churn and try to find new donors to make up for the soon-t-be-lost revenue.

We obviously planned for option one and went to work quickly on a new fundraising strategy.

Here is what we did:

  • We launched spring and fall P2P campaigns that focused on the most compelling aspects of our work.
  • We created a strategy to cultivate these new P2P donors and converted them into monthly donors.
  • We created a comms strategy to drive awareness around our issue and provided valuable content for our audience to consume across multiple channels.
  • We hired an ad agency and took the $10K/month of free adwords for nonprofits seriously and began driving stronger inbound donations.

The list goes on and on. Basically, we tried everything and kept doing the things that worked.

Don't wait for the next pandemic to start diversifying. The sooner you begin, the more stable you will become.

Can't listen to the video? Scroll down to read the transcript.

Video Transcript

The world has changed in the matter of, six days basically. And not to like sound too dramatic, but I mean, daily life will change for the foreseeable future. And I think something that rings true both in the nonprofit and for-profit space, it's times like this, times of uncertainty and unpredictable times where you need to have diverse revenue streams. And I think that, you know, a lot of nonprofit organizations a lot of nonprofit organizations are either grants heavy on one to five major donors or foundations and this is the time when those types of donors are going to be the most, you know, hesitant to make gifts. The markets are crazy. Their investments are down. So they're in a wait it out. And so this is where I think, you know, diversifying revenue streams is incredibly important. Especially, you know, we know that nonprofit events are getting are taking a huge hit. I mean events, of all types are taking a huge hit. And so diversifying the way that you raise funds, I think has never been more important. I don't think that internet fundraising is going to be impacted.  Like everything else. So I think this is a great time to double down on your activities online, whether it's peer-to-peer fundraising, whether it's livestream fundraising, hosting virtual events where you can still livestream like a keynote speaker to your support base, deliver a message fund a need, you know, engage with on-screen donation activities.  There's lots of things that nonprofits can do to stay relevant and engaged with their supporters. And I think it's just a matter of pivoting to do just that. Because this could be something that we're dealing with for the next several months and Q1, Q2, we have big revenue goals as nonprofit organizations. And so I think it's it's taking a hard look at maybe that campaign you're planning to launch at the end of summer. Maybe you launch that now, online. And so those are the types of things I'm thinking about. And when we're working with our customer base, information that we're sharing is to really elevate your online fundraising activity.

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