Getting a Fundraising Program off the Ground When You’re a Niche Nonprofit

August 18, 2021

Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson is the Deputy Director of Thrive Allen County. She’s building the organization’s fundraising program from the ground up and has some good ideas to share. 

1.    Have a Plan. Even though you may be nowhere near dipping your toes into planned giving or other initiatives associated with mature fundraising programs, you need to know how you’ll get there and what your first steps will be once you do.

2.    One Thing. Avoid overwhelm and pick one thing to focus on initially. Jessica says starting with an annual giving plan that began with one annual appeal then led to two appeals the next year is something they can build upon. They’re educating donors and getting them used to being asked for contributions as well. This patient, methodical method is working for Thrive.

3.    Everyone in the Pool. Whether or not each stakeholder or staff member is directly involved in fundraising, they need to understand how critical it is to your organization and play some part in it. Jessica has board members who may not make direct asks but introduce her to new connections in the community and are vocal cheerleaders for Thrive.