Some organizations’ causes don’t attract donations as much as solving world hunger or helping abused animals, but it doesn’t mean they’re any less important. If your nonprofit has a niche cause and you’ve been struggling to find new supporters, these tips could help.
A lot of people with obscure causes are scared to make asks out of fear of rejection. But, as the saying goes, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Not everyone will want to donate, but the worst that can happen is someone says no. Be confident and emphasize the importance of your cause on an individual level. Have the mindset that for every person who declines to give, there’s likely someone else out there who’s ready and willing. Once you find that core group of people who want to be especially involved with your organization, treat them like royalty. These passionate donors are the ones who are likely to spread your name and stick around for the long haul.
It might take a little more thinking outside of the box to get people on board with your mission, and that’s okay. Have fun with it! A great example is WaterAid, an organization that provides people with sanitary toilets. They created a campaign called #GiveAShit, where they made a series of custom poop emojis for social media’s biggest stars to share online, promoted a free app that lets people create their own emojis and held a poop-themed art gallery event in New York City. Seriously. Asking someone to donate to a toilet charity might not usually yield great results, but because they made it more relatable, tangible and fun, WaterAid had amazing success with this campaign.
While certain nonprofits have no trouble appealing to their donors’ emotional sides, more specific organizations have a harder time generating sympathy. Put an emphasis on storytelling by using real names, avoiding fancy jargon and showing your donors the direct impact of their donations. For your nonprofit, telling an effective story and fostering an emotional connection should be your priority when it comes to fundraising.
This might be the most important tip of them all: don’t over-expand your cause to receive more grants or gain popularity. While it’s normal to strategically adjust your focus as your organization evolves, “mission creep,” or stretching your mission far beyond its original goals, is something you should avoid at all costs. Mission creep will spread your resources thin and leave you with long-term commitments you aren’t prepared for. It could also damage your organization’s reputation because when your goals are unclear, donors may feel overwhelmed and unsure about how their money is being used. Instead, be yourself and own your cause. Your niche organization takes up a special place in the sector, and without you, a problem in your community would be left unsolved.