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8 Non-profit Fundraising Ideas – From a Donor's Perspective PART 1

Ian Robert Anderson

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Not a week goes by when I am not approached by a non-profit organization and asked for a donation. Some charitable organizations do it with cold calling, some with selling candy. Some 501c3s offer the most ridiculous items and they are instantly dismissed. Some have great ideas at a reasonable price. Some are WAY off in their thinking.

Below are the most recent charity fundraising techniques that have come my way. Each non-profit fundraising technique includes the price it was offered to me at, the price I think is reasonable AND what goes through the mind when I am being pitched with the technique (and some suggestions for nonprofits to increase their donation potential).

If you are a non-profit and you read this, please understand that I am a normal guy. I can also tell you that a lot of other people think like me.

1. Non-profit Scratch off cards
Price: $15 for one card
Reasonable Price: $15 for one card
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: Are the gifts exciting? Do I use these gifts regularly (I am a 25 year old male with no kids. Do not try to sell me a scratch off card with which I could win “Free trip to the Zoo". I will gladly buy lots of cards if I could win “a 1/2 priced Dinner at Joe’s" or “Buy 1 hour of tennis court time, get one half off". )

2. Charity Scrip
Price: $20 for a $25 Olive Garden Gift Certificate
Reasonable Price: $25 for a $25 Olive Garden Gift Certificate
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: I go there once in a while. It’s a nice place. Once again, know your audience and try to match the gift certificate with the potential donor.

3. 501c3 Candles
Price: $18 for 2 candles
Reasonable Price: $10 for 2 candles
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: Candles are nice. Candles appeal more around the holidays. Candles are great around the holidays when they come in scents that my grandmother would like and they are gift wrapped!

4. Non-profit Bricks
Price: $35 for a brick with my information on it
Reasonable Price: $50 for a brick with my information on it
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: This is cool. My name (or company name) will be on a walkway at your non-profit forever. I am in! This is a cool idea! Just make sure I can fit all the information I want on the brick.

5. Charity Calendars
Price: $10 for one non-profit calendar
Reasonable Price: $0 for one non-profit calendar
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: No. No. No. I use Microsoft Outlook. I never use paper calendars. If I tell you I’m going to buy your calendar and put it up on my wall, you should interpret that as “I think my grandmother will love it" or “I’m throwing this away when you leave".

6. 501c3 Chocolate
Price: $6 for one box of Godiva chocolate
Reasonable Price: $10 for one box of Godiva chocolate
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: I like a little bit of chocolate every once in a while. My girlfriend really likes chocolate. Ok, I’ll take some chocolate. 2 boxes please.

7. Charity Car Flags
Price: $4 for a your 501c3 car flag
Reasonable Price: $0 for a your 501c3 car flag
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: No way. It’s not going on my car.

8. Non-profit Child ID Program
Price: $25 for my kids ID, teeth imprint and short video
Reasonable Price: $100 for my kids ID, teeth imprint and short video
Donor Thoughts/Suggestions: I don’t have a child but if I did I would do this. This is a good thing, more parents should do this.

So there it is. Take notes. Listen to my suggestions and you will have a better offer for charity donors to consider. Along with these techniques you should also be collecting donations on your website. Your non-profit website is available to the public 24/7 and should be collecting donations, memberships and selling tickets to your events.

Ian Anderson is co-founder of Intersection360. Ian specializes in hosted application architecture and GUI design. Intersection360 offers a wide range of non-branded web applications for the small business/non-profit markets. Some of Intersection360 products include: CharityHelper360 - secure forms processing for non-profits, WebEdit360 - an online website editor and more.

Learn more about how you can sell Intersection360 products as your own with the Intersection360 Partner Program at


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