4 Fundraising Ideas for Small Businesses
Read this list of fundraising ideas to set up the best fundraiser for your business.
Are you a for-profit business just starting out or a nonprofit that needs to boost your fundraising plan? There’s a lot to consider when building a financial strategy for your growing business, especially when it comes to fundraising. To minimize the questions swirling around in your head and to help streamline your team’s brainstorming process, we’ve put together a list of fundraising ideas and best practices to get you started.
1. Find the Right Fundraising Resources
Fundraising for business is an investment of time and energy, but being prepared with the right tools cuts your work significantly. Many resources can make your fundraiser ideas a reality, and it’s important to weigh your options.
Traditional Funding Sources
Traditional ways to get funding for a business include loans, grants, venture capitalists, and investments from friends and family. While these are important options to explore, each comes with a few challenges to consider:
- Business loans: Financial backing from banks can vary depending on the health of the economy. After the 2008 financial crisis, for instance, loans became harder to secure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get one. Business loans are an important financial source for many new and existing businesses. All you have to do is understand the steps for getting a small business loan or learn how to optimize your plan to grow your business.
- Grants: Government grants are often limited to certain industries to promote growth in fields like nanotechnology or renewable energy. Availability can also vary by region, so it’s worth doing initial research to see if your business qualifies for any government grants.
- Venture capital: Institutions that engage in venture capitalist funds often require an established customer base and look for businesses that have shown success and potential. When you’re searching how to get funding for a business, this is a better option for an established company that is ready to accept investors on the board with higher levels of involvement.
Alternative Funding Sources
If traditional fundraising seems too limiting, the good news is that advances in technology have led to an influx of new-investor interest. In turn, this has opened up new investment avenues. So, what next? Here are some worthwhile alternative fundraising avenues to consider:
- Angel investors: These are typically investment-savvy, high-net-worth individuals who are willing to give money to new businesses that attract their interest. What appeals to angel investors? A transparent and realistic business plan and goals. A business can gain substantial funds from angel investing, but it does come with high expectations and levels of involvement.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdsourced funding usually involves creating a campaign to attract individual investors to your business or product. This generally follows the model of a larger group of smaller investors. The benefit is that with a smaller investment cost comes less expected involvement from the investor. Rather than a position on the board or a large stake in shares, incentives like first access to products or exclusive deals motivate crowdfunding investors.
- Tech-based marketing strategies: Using social media and leveraging mobile marketing are smart ways to reach potential investors and promote your business. These methods work especially well for charities and nonprofits, but they’re also prime fundraiser ideas for for-profit businesses.
Fundraising Tools & Platforms
Learning how to fundraise for a business requires some legwork. Your options are more varied than ever, as technology and shifting attitudes have attracted a whole new demographic of investors. Knowing how to start a fundraiser can be less daunting if you know the right tools to use to get the job done. If you’re just starting out and need an extra leg up, consult financial planners for small business, who can streamline the process for accessing funding and applying for loans.
If you are ready to start raising funds, here are some tools worth checking out:
- Crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo, provide an organized space to promote your business and accept donations and investments. Though each site has unique features, all of them offer similar structures, like the ability to customize page content and tune messaging to fit your brand.
- Text marketing is a solution that allows donors and investors to contribute quickly, securely, and easily. It’s one of the best fundraising ideas to reach a lot of people quickly, where they spend much of their time — on their phones.
- Social media schedulers like Hootsuite help you promote your fundraising efforts and your business by allowing you to keep an organized posting schedule. You can integrate Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok into one centralized dashboard.
2. Set & Share Realistic Goals
Now that you have some tools and options in front of you, the next step is to start adding structure to your plan. Setting goals will help you decide what fundraising ideas to pursue and how aggressive your campaign should be.
Determine realistic fundraising goals for each avenue, and plan how to communicate that goal with potential donors or investors. Will you need to diversify your efforts to include multiple funding sources, or can you rely on one or two? Do your goals include more than financial considerations, such as growing your network and cultivating connections? Similar to when you set up your small business goals, your fundraising plan should answer basic questions:
- What do you want to achieve? / How much do you need?
- How will you measure success?
- Is your monetary goal realistic in relation to your potential reach?
- By when do you need to reach your goal?
3. Create a Campaign
If your plan stretches beyond traditional investment sources, you’ll need to create a campaign. This is your chance to let your business fundraising ideas shine.
- Create a message that aligns with your business and brand. You have a mission and vision for your business, and you should carry these into your fundraiser ideas. Maintaining your authentic voice is a good way to instill trust and keeps transparency in the forefront. It will also help you appeal to investors who are interested in your business goals.
- Collect high-quality images, logos, videos, and more that you can leverage across all media. The look and feel of your fundraising materials should be consistent. Make sure you have the right file types and sizes for various platforms, including social media, text messaging, and email.
- Get creative with who you target. Build a broad network and pursue different types of donors. Do some research into communities you may not have initially considered. Look for groups or individuals peripherally connected to your offering that may be interested in your product, even in a roundabout way. You might be surprised by who wants to donate to your cause.
- Start with a soft launch for your established base of interested donors and early supporters of your business. This can help build buzz and also allows you to learn and adjust if there are messaging problems, technical errors, or questions you had not anticipated. By the time you launch the full campaign to a wider audience, you’ve already laid the groundwork.
- Think about hosting a fundraising event. While physical events can be expensive, they are also very incentivizing for donors and give a face to the cause, especially for nonprofits. To make your event-planning life easier, use tools like text communication to help streamline event management and simplify promotion.
4. Share & Market Your Campaign
Once you’ve set the tone, timeline, and goals and have the necessary materials ready to go, it’s time to promote your fundraiser. You can have all the best fundraiser ideas in place, but effective marketing is the natural next step to maximize their potential. Here’s how you can boost your efforts:
- Incentivize potential donors with perks like exclusive deals, early access to product launches, specific merch, recognition in a donor area on your website, or virtual face time with the business owners. You can set different giving levels and plan incentives according to price. The more they donate, the better their reward.
- Share in creative ways. Make sure your social, email, and SMS marketing messages are engaging, to the point, and highly clickable with enticing imagery. You can also branch into options like experiential marketing and grassroots activities like joining online communities and forums to engage with members. These approaches shouldn’t be salesy or direct appeals for donations. Make them feel like organic introductions to your offering.
- Promote the campaign on your website. Use this built-in, prime real estate to explain your campaign more in-depth than you can in social media posts. Make fundraising for your business front and center until you hit your goals.
- Use smart CTAs to gain word of mouth. Encourage existing investors to share the campaign with their circles by offering clear calls to action in your posts.
EZ Texting Can Help Your Business
All good fundraising ideas start by considering audience and reach. Even the best campaigns will fail if they don’t reach the right people. With the EZ Texting platform, you increase your chances of engagement with 98% open rates. SMS marketing is a super-efficient and scalable addition to any small business fundraising strategy that will help you reach ideal investors and turn your campaign into ongoing opportunities.