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  • Writer's pictureTim Boyd

Quick Guide to Fundraising for Smaller Non-Profits

Updated: Jul 8

Quick Guide to Fundraising for Smaller Non-Profits


It’s my joy to serve a lot of smaller non-profits by speaking at events and informal mentoring.  There are a few things that we all need to know about fundraising.  Here they are!  They are our LEGS to stand on.  (Hopefully that helps you remember them!)

L - Levels

E - Events

G - Grants

S - Social



We have an unlimited amount of love; however, we don’t have an unlimited amount of time.  Everyone that gives to our work is loved the same.  Not everyone that gives to our organization gets the same amount of our time.  There are three levels of givers (by amount given). 

First, you have annual givers.  They love your work but don’t have the capacity to give large gifts.  You have two main goals with that group.  First, you want them to become monthly givers.  As a monthly giver, I don’t give large gifts, but I’ve given monthly for 9 years.  That’s a lot for me.  Also, with this group you want to encourage them to leave you a legacy gift.  That means you want them to write you into their will.

Secondly, you have mid-major givers.  These are people with the capacity to give larger gifts, but they don’t give you larger gifts because they are either new to you or they give to other places.  Your goal with them is to build a relationship and figure out how their passion lines up with your mission.  That won’t happen through your talking.  It will happen through your listening.

Lastly, you have your major givers.  They give you large gifts and have the capacity to continue to give you large gifts.  Most likely, you have 8-12 of these in your group and they give you most of the money that you have.  Spend most of your fundraising time and energy with them.


Events can be horrible or wonderful.  It’s up to you to determine which they will be.  Here are some tips to ensure your events are wonderful.  First, you need to determine the purpose of the event.  Is it for fundraising, awareness, or thanking your donors?  Second, how much time, energy, and money do you think it will take to pull off your event?  Is it worth it?  If not, what can you do differently to make sure it is?  Scaling back some expenses?  Getting sponsorships?  Involving board members and volunteers more in the planning and execution?

Make sure you do an annual banquet.  There is nothing more powerful than having EVERYONE together as you cheerlead the incredible impact that they are making through the work that they are supporting that you are leading.  The annual banquet is the focal point of your fundraising calendar. Click here to download a FREE annual banquet planning calendar!

There is an endless number of ideas for fundraising events on the internet.  Google them!  Of course, I suggest a comedy night featuring me!


Don’t get scared!  Grants don’t have to be overwhelming.  The groups that give out grants want to help people just like you!  Many of them will have training on their websites walking you through the application process.  Watch them!  They are telling you how to get their grants! 

Run to your local Community Foundation!  Attend EVERTHING they offer!  You want them to know you and think about you.  They will help you find and apply for local grants.

Use your internet search!  Look for local and national grants that you qualify for.  Also, there are a lot of free trainings on youtube designed to help you learn more about the grant writing world.


I wanted to do this one first, but Sleg doesn’t sound as good as Legs. 

You want people to think of you WELL and OFTEN.  You will need to invest some money in a couple of programs, but they will be worth it.  First, you need a CRM.  That’s a database where you can put the info in from all your current and potential donors.  You can send emails and mailings from them.  It will make taxes easier too.  Also, you can take credit cards, debit cards, and ACH authorizations.  Why?  You need to be able to sign up monthly givers.  You need to be able to send out a monthly E-newsletter.  You need to have a database of your givers.

Invest in a program like Canva.  From there you can create a social media calendar and social media posts.  I am generally 3-4 months out in my social media posts.  That means I have 3 months of social media posts created and scheduled to be posted in one morning.  (That sounds nice right?) 

You need a website.  Without a website – you have no front door to many people.

Hit the streets!  Get to churches, community clubs, events, etc!

Fundraising isn’t the hardest thing in the world when you stand on your LEGS!

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