Gifts come in many different shapes and sizes. For most 501(c)(3) showrunners, that shape is preferably “envelope with check inside.” But could nonprofits stand to look outside of the traditional funding box for support?
Sure, pretty much all nonprofits could use a boost of non-restricted funds — that community meeting won’t just supply its own hummus. But expanding your definition of “donation” might just open a door you didn’t even know was there. For example, your supporter might serve the mission by:
Donating a venue: From grand theaters to a well-manicured back yard, free venue space is an invaluable resource for nonprofits looking to produce an elegant event on a budget. Plus, events offer a built-in opportunity to promote the sponsor as well as the cause. Win-win!
Connecting you with networks: Let’s be frank: nonprofit giving is an exclusive club. Major gifts just won’t come until you build strong, authentic relationships with your major supporters. But those very same people are… unlikely… to accept a random request for coffee from a small nonprofit. Enter your fanciest board member or well-connected volunteer. This social superhero can leverage their phone book to make the intro between you and your new mission-aligned best friend, and gracefully bow out as the sparks fly.
Donating time and skills (volunteering): The Nonprofit Times just published a new report suggesting that the value of your average volunteer’s time tops $24 per hour, with volunteer work’s overall yearly economic value well into the billions. Make sure your volunteers are well-compensated in recognition and snacks (always snacks). And volunteer duties aren’t just limited to picking up trash or manning a check-in booth. Are they a whiz with Excel, or a great photographer? Consider adding a “special skills” question to your volunteer signup form and review periodically to figure out where to best place your allies.
Donating their birthday: Charity:water sparked a movement when founder Scott Harrison made the decision to “donate his birthday” in 2008 — and started an international phenomenon. Now, donors can start a birthday fundraiser right on Facebook to bring new supporters, allies and donors to your cause.
There are many ways for a donor to support and donate to your organization other than direct cash donations. Those small things people do or give to nonprofit organizations other than money add up and makes a huge impact in the long run!