Is your nonprofit trying to fundraise on a small budget? Mazarine Treyz, author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising, recently joined us for a webinar in which she uncovered tools and tricks you can use to help make the most of your nonprofit dollars!

In case you missed it, you can watch the replay here:

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right. My watch just struck 1:00. You want to go ahead and get started?

Mazarine: Let’s do it.

Steven: All right, cool. Good afternoon to those of you on the East Coast and good morning if you’re on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang Webinar, Fundraising on a Shoestring Budget. My name is Steve Shattuck and I’m the VP of Marketing over here at Bloomerang. I’ll be moderating today’s session.

Before we begin, I just want to do a couple of housekeeping items. We are recording this presentation. If you want to review the content later or if you have to leave early, perhaps, you will be able to review the whole presentation later on. I’ll be sending out the recording as well as the slides a little later on this afternoon. Look for an email from me later today.

As you’re listening, please feel free to make use of that chatbox right there on your webinar screen, one of you already have. We love to see your questions and comments. We’re going to save some time at the end for a formal Q&A session, we’re going to save maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t be shy at all, send questions our way and we’re going to try to answer just as many as possible before the 2:00 Eastern hour.

Just in case this is your first webinar with us, welcome. We do give these webinar just about every Thursday. In addition to producing these webinars, Bloomerang also offers some really great donor management software. If you’re interested in that or if you are perhaps, looking for a new vendor, we would love for you to check it out on our website. You can learn all about us. You can download a video demo. You don’t even have to talk to a sales person if you don’t want to, which is nice. Check that out if you’re interested, that’s our little short commercial there. But for now I want to go ahead and introduce today’s guest. She is Mazarine Treyz. Hey Mazarine, how’s it going?

Mazarine: Hey what’s up Steven? Everybody?

Steven: I’m so happy for you to be here. You were here last year, I think. You did a really awesome presentation on emails and email newsletters. Everyone loved you so much that we had to have you back on. I’m super excited for you to be here. Just before you go, I want to brag on you a little bit, just in case people don’t know you. Mazarine is the author of “The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising” and she’s also the founder of, which is a really good website, really popular fundraising resource. She’s got over 50,000 monthly readers. It’s a great newsletter, a great blog.

She also has another book, a really good book. It’s actually on my bookshelf. I just lent it out to a budding, non-profit marketer. That book is “The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media.” Great book. She’s also got some other books, “Get the Job – Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide.” Mazarine, you’re just a great speaker, great writer, a world traveler, you do a lot of speaking as well, and you’ve been a fundraiser yourself as well. I’m just really excited for you to present this. I’m going to pipe down and let you get to it.

Mazarine: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it Steven. Blushing over here, I’m still blushing. Everybody, let’s just get started. I know people are still joining us, but I think we’re just going to have to run with it and they can always get the recording later. All the people that got here on time, Fundraising on a Shoestring. This is it. This is the name of the webinar. The point of this webinar is if you’re in a small fundraising shop and you’re looking to save money however you can, this is all for you. For the vast majority of my fundraising career, I worked in very tiny, one-person fundraising shop. If that’s you, I feel your pain.

I made many mistakes that wasted us money and I also made some choices that helped us save money. What I want to do is bring you my personal perspective on how you can save money and hopefully make more money in your fundraising office as well. I understand that a lot of people here also have the same experience as me. If you would like to add at the end, we’re going to have a section at the end where how you like to save money in your fundraising office if I don’t mention one of the ways that you like to do it. Please feel free so that we can learn from you. Everybody here I think is very smart, want to give back and have something to share. Please feel free, by all means to tell us that at the end. Let’s get going. We’ve already heard about me, so enough about me.

Now, here’s your first poll question. The comic here on the bottom is, “Oh no, my moths.” How like moths fly out of your wallet. That’s supposed to be a wallet. Anyway, what are some of your issues with your fundraising budget? A, what fundraising budget? B, not enough to do more than one appeal letter a year. C, not enough to hire an assistant. D, not enough to get a fundraising database or, E, other. Steven, would you recommend people just do this in the chat window? Is that how it happens?

Steven: They can chat in their answers.

Mazarine: Great. Please chat in your answers. I’m seeing some C’s, not enough to hire an assistant. A couple of A’s, what fundraising budget? Yes, I know that story. All of the above with Alec. Wow. Everybody. Yes. A lot of people say, “What fundraising budget?” and “Not enough to hire an assistant.” Really good. Too much to do, E. Other. Too much to do. Thank you, Andrea. Vanessa’s all the above. Keith just said, “Just got Bloomerang. Yippee.” and then Linda said, “What fundraising budget?” Good deal. Janey said E. Great. Sandra, E too. Wonderful. Okay. Yes, Cynthia, letter C. Excellent.

Okay, good. Looks like a lot of people said not enough to hire an assistant and A. what’s a fundraising budget? Robin said, “So many hats, so little time.” Totally. For those of you who are on and you’re saying, “What fundraising budget?” You need to make a fundraising budget, even if it’s just a $100, so to say, “This program is important enough to have a fundraising budget.” Start where you are, but if you don’t have a budget then you’re always worried that you’re going to be spending and your boss is going to come down on you.

But you have to spend money to make more money. You do. Whether it’s with your database, with your appeal letters, with your vents. There’s no way around it. You must. This is why having a budget is important. You’ll never know you’re going to be saving money unless you see how much you would have spent otherwise. It’s important to track your money.

Then, for hiring an assistant, we’ll actually talk about that later on in the presentation about how you can get virtual and in-person assistants, volunteers. I’ll also share with you a tool that I use that helps with virtual assistants. It’s not free, but it’s very reliable too. Thank you everybody so much for sharing that.

The next poll question is, what are you hoping out of the webinar today? Is it A, new ways to save money in my fundraising office? B, new ideas for getting volunteers to do more fundraising. C, how to use virtual volunteers or, D, all of the above? Looks like a lot of people are saying D already. Stephanie said A and B. Excellent. Somebody said, “D, D, D.” How do you do more with less? Somebody has lot of D’s and B. Let’s see, for two volunteers, we’ll talk about that. Wonderful. James said, “D, D, D.” Hey James what’s up? It’s nice to see you on here. Excellent. Yes Bobby, you can just respond in the chat window. Excellent. Good. I think that’s enough time for this poll question. I think everybody has shared that they want all these. We are going to be talking about these things.

All right, let’s keep going. Here’s what we’re going to learn today. We’re going to stop burning through your money, how to get your printing costs down as well as getting volunteer help, low-cost or no-cost virtual volunteer help, then finding grants for free and more. That’s what we’ll be learning about today. I apologize if my voice sounds little rough at times. I’m just getting over a cold. Just FYI, just letting you know.

Pop quiz. What should you be focusing on? If this is the chart from Giving USA, 2015, would you be focusing on individuals, foundations, bequests or corporations? This is how much money non-profits, as a whole, get in the US. Marianne said individuals and James said grants. Right on. Lauren said individuals, Mary said individuals too. Audrey said bequests. That’s interesting. Joel said, “Wherever you’re getting good support already.” Right. That’s a good point. Lou said, “My job is individuals, so I’ll go with that.” Yes, exactly. Sharon and Darlene said foundation, and Sheila said corporation.

For everybody thank you so much for playing. It’s actually individuals. Looks like this could be the thing that I would suggest focusing on. This is where non-profits get $240 billion of their money. Now, foundations are what we think of when we think about fundraising when we first start out. Grants and then of course, the corporations to get the sponsorships. That’s just like, if this is a dollar, that’s just like 25 cents of the dollar. Wouldn’t you want 75 cents instead of 25 cents? That’s why I would suggest getting an individual-giving program that’s really strong. Andrea said, “Do foundations include private foundations?” Yes. “What’s the lapse time from start to get for each piece of the pie to last?” Good question. The bequest could be a 20-year timeline, we really have no way of knowing. This is just how much was disbursed in 2014 to non-profits. So that’s that.

Here’s how to waste fundraising money. This is all play and cheek so just take this in a spirit of irony. First, make sure you do at least four events year. In fact, do as many events as possible. Don’t worry about who you buy your list from. Buy lots of lists. Don’t ask any questions. Keep mailing to these total strangers. Make sure that you pay your fundraising staff little enough so that you get turnover every 10 to 18 months. I mean, why invest in fundraising staff? They’re just going to leave, right? Don’t do that. Don’t thank donors or volunteers. Don’t budget, do a thank-a-thon or a fundraiser. I mean, don’t worry. If they gave to you once, they’ll give to you again, right? Sure they will.

Quiz. What is the number one best way to fundraise? What gives you the maximum money out in the least time? You can answer this quiz in the chat pane. Is it direct mail, phone-a-thon, personal letter, face-to-face ask, personal phone call, special events or grants? We have some smarties on here. I can’t teach you anything. You all know the answer. This is so good. Brenda said all of the above. That’s interesting. Dawn said personal phone call, Ruth said face-to-face. Jessica said, “Our organization is unusual. We get the most from grants.” Good to know. We know it’s a concern. Yes, it is. Personal phone calls for Cindy. Becky said direct mail for us and Andrea said the same. Interesting. Great on. Barbara said direct mail too. Wonderful.

Everybody, thanks for your sharing with the quiz. Gary said, “It probably depends on the relationship with the donor.” Greta said, “Face if he can get there.” Great. Thanks everybody. I’ve said I didn’t read your answers just because there’s just so many coming in. Chrissy said, “Special event than direct mail.” Some person said, “It’s begging and asking.” Hopefully we’re not begging as fundraisers. Thanks for participating in the quiz.

The answer is, and this is straight from Kim Klein, who is my fundraising heroine, and she has written 19 books about fundraising, written or contributed to it, out of those 19 books that are for fundraising. I have a long way to go before I can be her. She says that a face-to-face ask gives you a 50% rate of success. Lindsay said, “I know it doesn’t work for us.” Yes. I know when I was in a small fundraising shop, just thinking about a face-to-face ask made me quick in my booth. I was like, “I can’t even add one more thing to my plate. I just can’t.” That was an excuse though. Face-to-face really does work according to Kim.

Next highest rate of success aside from face-to-face, which is a 50 % rate, is personal phone call, 25%. Then a personal letter from somebody they know, 10 to 15% returns. Phone-a-thon, about 5% return and direct mail, which I believe is probably acquisition mailing, is like a 1 to 2% return. She said that special events are the slowest, most stupid way and they’re expensive. That’s true. I will say that when I worked at a social justice non-profit in Portland, Oregon. We made about $250,000 with our special event and it had been going on for 19 years. It was pretty much a really good way for us to raise money just because we’ve been doing it for so long. That was like our big yearly event. But vast majorities of the time, special events are a waste of your time.

Face-to-face ask . . . Susan said, “Most of us don’t want a personal meeting so it’s a challenge.” It absolutely is a challenge. That’s why you should hire somebody who knows how to get the meetings or have somebody train you on how to get the meetings. Susan said, “It’s worked the best for us as a relative newcomer in the region. Although the organization is from the state for 15 years, it gives me the opportunity to tell the story and it’s harder to say no with someone who is living in the unit, it’s too easy on the phone.” Yes. Darren said, “They get you visibility, special events.” Totally true. Bobby said, “What about social media?” Yes, social media should be under special events as a stupid way to fundraise.

I actually talked to a guy who wrote “Facebook for Dummies,” John Hayden. He’s done a lot of non-profit webinars. He’s working a lot of non-profit activities over the years. I just talked to him face to face and I said, “John, is Facebook any good for fundraising?” He said, “No, it’s a cultivation tool. You’re not going to get donations through your Facebook the vast majority of the time.” That’s borne out of my personal experience as well. It’s highly unlikely, spending time on social media is really going to get you the donations that you want whereas if you just go with the face-to-face ask, you will probably get a lot more of the donations that you want, and least time in and the maximum money out.

Online giving, Giving Tuesday, people have questions about that. That’s a combination of online and offline event, isn’t it? Because the whole state is talking about it, there’s a big media juggernaut. That’s its own separate thing. But I would still go to the face-to-face ask as the best way. For most people that I know who do giving Tuesday, they don’t make more than $10,000 for that, the majority of them. So think about, trying to keep up with that pace, and telling people to keep on Giving Tuesday for a month beforehand. Still, you’re not going to get a return from it versus if you just use that energy to do that face-to-face ask or do cultivation activities with your donors, that are the most loyal ones, you’ll find that it will be much more effective.

Carol said, “Special events drain staff and volunteer energy and time. If you look at the staff costs to your org, to do an event well, you’d see the value of face-to-face.” Thank you Carol. I agree. Sheila said, “Auction parties with a purpose actually work for us.” Good for you. Wonderful. Just make sure that you also have the face-to-face piece. That’s something I wish I had done when I was working full-time in nonprofit. I know it’s hard sometimes to do it, but it’s important. Now that you know the best way to fundraise and the worst way to fundraise, keep doing what you’re doing if it’s working for you. But if you want to really ramp up your effectiveness, I would invest in major, yes, as much as you can.

The next piece is, how to get your printing costs down. How can you do this? If you have a preferred printer, somebody you’re already doing with all of your business cards and letterheads with, you can ask for one printing free per year for being a good customer. If you don’t have a preferred printer, then you can ask to research who’s the cheapest printers in your area, with the specs that you’re looking for. You can see how you can save money there. is a really good resource. I really like it. I’ve used it for years. I don’t use it consistently, but I use it on and off every year.

Being an entrepreneur is a lot like being in a one-person fundraising shop, honestly. You’re doing everything. It costs $65 a month for fifteen 15-minute tasks. If you have some research that you want them to do, it would be something that I would invest in. I think they even have a smaller level than that. You just give them the specs and you can say, “Look, call these 10, 20 or 30 printers” and they will go around and do it for you and they’ll get an answer for you. They won’t stop until it’s done, which is pretty neat. If your preferred printer doesn’t want to give you a free printing per year, then that’s something to consider. The nice thing about Fancyhands is even their virtual assistants are actually all in the US. You don’t have to worry that your instructions are going to be misunderstood. They’re not phased out to another country where English isn’t the native language. You’re helping create American jobs as well, which I think is pretty neat. That’s one thing you can do.

They do other stuff too. If you want to ask them to research other, any reports of similar non-profits for you and see who their foundation donors and corporate sponsors are, they can do that as well. They can put that on a spreadsheet for you and they’ll get it done in . . . it would feel like 10 minutes but it will actually be like a day or two. But it’s incredible. They’re so reliable. They’re so effective. If you need any research task done at all, those are three different research tasks that I would have them do if I was in a small non-profit, I would do that.

Can Fancyhands help Canadian organizations? Absolutely they can. I know we have some Canadian people on today and yes, I mean they’ll work whenever you want them to. They’re based in America but they totally work with Canadian organizations. There’s no limit for them for sure. Just go on their website, signup and they’re very, very good. If you’re tired of putting research tasks on volunteers, who don’t really want to do research tasks, and actually get it done in a timely way, then I highly suggest working with them. That will save you some of that effort, money and time.

Another way to get your printing cost down is to print a postcard instead of an annual report and so this is what the PEN American Center did, and they just sent this out, this is the front of it. Here on the bottom, right-hand side and this is the back of it. And it just has the address of their annual report here on the bottom, I would highly suggest doing that, just because it’s really good to think about who is really responding to your annual report. Don’t just send it to your entire list. Maybe your major donors get a physical one, the most loyal donors get a physical one if they’re monthly givers, and people who have been giving to you consistently for the last three years plus.

But for everybody else, who, maybe doesn’t really care, they can just go on the website and view it if they want to and I would highly recommend at making it be a very easy URL to understand. Nothing like XQWXZ, things like that. The way they explain it so that people don’t feel snubbed if you’ve been doing a physical one the whole time, they said in this time of worldwide physical challenge, and with our commitment to your reducing the number of annual reports that we print this year, it will be available on our website. If you’d like to receive a printed report, please email, to request a copy. That way, they’re clear, they’re professional, and they tell you the web address one more time and then you can just send them a post, that’s like the name where the donor was. So you can just email them and get a copy. For those people who maybe don’t want to do email, they’ll also have a phone number on there. That’s one way I would improve this. But that could really help.

Paul said “I agree, I get really huge annual reports from orgs I give money to that I never read,” right? Most of them aren’t pretty good and I actually incidentally have a course and a couple of webinars about. How to make better annual report? So that’s something to think about. Some people already mentioned in this in the chat which I love, so some people said, ask corporate supporters if they have an in-house print shop that can donate printing because that is exactly what I did when I worked at the Urban League. Consider a corporation that may see this as an excellent branding opportunity to put their logo on the back cover somewhere inconspicuous. Could you get your report printed for free? That’s what we did.

So this is the annual report that I did for them and it was all done for free. I found a font for free. They helped us with picture cropping. They made it look good basically. This is the front cover of it with somebody who has done with this for a very long time. Miss Loretta, she said, “This looks expensive. How much does this cost?” I said it was free and she’s like “Oh.” She was pleased that it hadn’t cost the non-profit anything to do and most enough profits don’t necessarily get that kind of a deal so that’s something to think about and some people already said that.

Susan said, some of our corporate donors have in-house print shops, that’s a good way to keep cost down, and engage the donor in a different way, ask them to donate the printing cost. That’s exactly what happened here. So I highly encourage you if you have a big corporate donor. For this one it was Boeing in Seattle that offered to do it for us. That’s something you should do. Cathy said, “We started printing a monthly training postcard rather than a full training brochure.” I love that Cathy. That’s another really good idea. I know another non-profit here in Oregon that has just an e-news letter with the training opportunity. You might want to consider that too.

Getting volunteer help, we talked a bit about Fancyhands, but volunteers give ten times as much as non-volunteers so it’s in your best interest to still have volunteers and cultivate them. I’ve tried to have . . . if everybody here is from the US, UK or Canada, kind of giving something for everyone here, so is excellent. We’ve gotten tons of response from that when I worked at a small orchestra down in Austin, Texas, I highly recommend them., that’s from the AARP and they actually repost stuff from The neat thing about Create The Good, if you haven’t used it, is that it actually gives people a sense of how long an opportunity is going to take and how far away it is from them.

Those are two things that make people not want to volunteer with you, is that everybody wants a super long commitment then it’s really far away from you. So this is what I hear again and again from my fundraising friends. And so what I like to do is, I like to go on and Create the Good and say “Look, you can have a five minute opportunity or you can have a day long one and you don’t have to worry about having to sign your life away and disappoint a worthy non-profit.”

Catherine, can you repeat that last suggestion? I think you maybe meant about an e-newsletter instead of publishing a postcard or a brochure about your training opportunities. So that was my last suggestion. But Create the Good is wonderful. is fantastic. Those three are the top US ones that I would do. I know is UK-based. I have never used it but I thought I would just include it here for the sake of completeness as well as and If anybody here from Canada has another one you’d suggest, I’d be happy to repeat what you said and amend this presentation as well. I have never lived in Canada so I haven’t had the opportunity to try these.

All of these are good. I would say for me, for us, for non-profits in general, is the best. Lorrie said Volunteer Manitoba is another one. Excellent. So perhaps Volunteer Toronto, wonderful. It’s more regional than . . . so what Rohit said, thank you, Rohit I really appreciate that. So I will add those to the next version of the presentation. Susan said Volunteer Calgary called Propellus, wonderful. It’s more regional in Canada, thank you. I really appreciate that.

All right, let’s get on. You can also meet volunteers at volunteer events, wonderful. And Jill said LinkedIn. Fascinating. Michelle says Thank you, thanks for making this presentation better. Katy and people here, thank you so much. Volunteer Canada said Less. Thank you. I should have added that. I really appreciate that. I’m going to change this for the next time, thank you.

Getting virtual volunteers to help you. If you don’t know how to engage virtual volunteers, don’t worry. I’m going to have a resource on the next page that you absolutely must, must look into. I found some more for virtual volunteers for US, UK, and Canada.,, and Depending on what opportunities you have, you might want to consider these differently. Skills for Change is really more focused on virtual opportunities that you can do online., I have a client who lives in Atlanta and she got her annual report designed by somebody on and it was a corporate person whose job was design. They really liked the results. They got so . . . I’m just going to it out that the right now. GlobalGiving, I’ve never used but something else to consider, and I used to use and then they got bought out. So Skills for Change became the new and I’ll share with you some results we got from that, from this orchestra I used to work at. We asked them to do a logo for us, and then I heard about Help from Home from the UK and then Koodonation from Canada and that’s another version of

I really like the format. You get to give prizes to people depending on what they do for you. So if you have research tasks or you want people to look over a job position listing that you’re wanting to put out there to see if it looks good to them or any legal documents or graphic design stuff like logos or t-shirts, or maybe a calendar or annual report or something. These are some places to get that help and I’ve found success with Sparks and So I’ve checked those two.

Catherine says this is a good translation service, “Translators without Borders is an amazing resource.” Thank you. I’ll put that on here. I really appreciate that. Eliza said, “Good Works also lists volunteer positions.” I will put those on here too, thank you. Steven, I hope you can copy over some of these suggestions into an email for me. I don’t have time to put these in the email right now but these are all really good.

Steven: I’ll do that.

Mazarine: Thank you so much. You guys are all helping me make this so much better. Thank you for being good co-presenters with me, thank you.

This is Jayne Cravens the “Last Virtual Volunteer Guidebook” that you will ever need. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. When I brought up that I do about fundraising, people are like, “Oh, I want this book.” They were just flipping through it, they were like, “This is so good.” I’m like, “Yeah, it’s really good.” She actually gave me a copy, so at full disclosure I didn’t have to pay for my copy but I did blog about it and it’s fantastic. Probably on Amazon or Bookfinder’s even cheaper. So I highly recommend that if you have any trouble understanding how volunteers virtually work or you just want to make sure that you engage them in a really consistent savvy way, get this book. It covers everything. It has job descriptions, it has where to look for people, it has everything. If you have any issues with people it’s just so good.

Adya said, “Would this be a good resource for having, input put into a database like Salesforce?” You want to be careful with what you’re going Donor Data Adya. I would probably just go with Idealist and Volunteer Match for having people in-house do that, not like online because you never know who they are and what they’re doing so you’ve got to be careful with Donor Data for sure. Other things that I mentioned are totally fine.

Getting virtual volunteers to help you. This was the Austin Civic Orchestra. I worked for them in 2010 to 2011. I was their part-time development director. So they were looking for a new logo to put on to their t-shirts. They wanted to have them embroidered on their t-shirts for their big outdoor concert every year and so we decided to just play around with what would a new logo look like for us. This is the first one that which is now Koodonation if you’re in Canada, or the other one previously that we said is. So anyway, its one of the first ones that we came up with and I just thought it looked like a bauble toy. So I said, “Not this one. We want something less curly basically.”

So I told them, “Hey, I like Spark gurus, Spark magicians, thank you so much for helping us with this project. Here’s what we need.” I really made the volunteer job description funny, specific, and manageable, like we just want you to come up with some new logos for us and show us what you got. It should be non-curly, here’s some examples of what we’re looking for. And so we looked at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York one, these look good to us. Every time people gave us an idea, we said thank you. We give awards to people, they can give awards on these virtual volunteer websites as well. Joel said, “When using volunteers for design, you should use organization’s graphics standards with them if you have them, right?” Absolutely you do.

We didn’t really have standards. We didn’t have anything because we’re really tiny non-profit. So share your standards with them too. Funny, specific, manageable and share your standard, absolutely. This is the second one we came up with and we thought Austin Civic Orchestra, that’s kind of interesting but not quite right, we didn’t really like that A actually. This next person came up with something that was really dark and black. We were like, this looks likes an eye. But this one came, this one here on the left. We were like, “Wow, we love that.” Looks like brush painting and Austin Civic Orchestra, just like that. We really liked it so that’s one we chose. Actually, that’s the one I chose and they ended up deciding not to use any of them. But that was their deal. Anyway, it’s still a really good resource and you should definitely check it out.

Michelle asks, “What kind of awards do you give?” Inside the Virtual Volunteer platform, there will be like, give a star, give an award to some people on here. They respond quickly and usually you want to respond just as quickly to them if you can. So that’s something to think about. There’s so much that I could tell you. But this is just a little brief guideline for what I did with them. I have a whole blog post about this on Pamela Grow’s Blog so if you look up Pamela Grow I Heart’s Sparks, you can see more of my description and all the other logos that we didn’t like. If you’re curious about it.

Finding Grants for Free. So Finding Grants for Free. Grantspace and Foundation Center have teamed up to provide grant research for free, Good for the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Australia, and a number of other countries. A lot of people think that they have to buy access to Grant’s database and you don’t have to do that. You can just go directly to your central library wherever that happens to be and they will probably have a foundation center/Grantspace directory for you. “Love Foundation Center.” I do too. I would highly suggest going either once a week or once a month and just play around with different search terms, searching by who got the grant, is good. So if you have partners that you like to research who got the grants and when they got them, or sister non-profits in different cities or different parts of the state, that’s something to look at.

As well as they also have corporations in there. So if you’re looking at which corporations care about our cause, our issue, that’s another place to find who has given to non-profits in your area or what they care about and I highly recommend that you check out this resource. Its free and a librarian will even show you how to use it. It’s like you can get really specific and use it like a Google search if you want to. But you can also just plug and play and just kind of explore so you’ll know exactly who’s giving what, when. And you can see right there, they’ll have PDFs you can download for, okay, do they accept grant proposals at all? Are they giving this year? Do they only give once every two years? Do you want their contact info? It’s right there. You can call them up and say, “Hey do we fit within your guidelines? We have this project.” So you can save yourself some time.

What I like to do is I like to bring a little thumb drive with me to a library and plug it in the computer there because they charge you for copies and stuff. So I put in the thumb drive and then I just go to town and look and then I just take all the PDFs that they have and put them on my thumb drive. And then I go home and look at the spreadsheet or if have my computer with me, I’ll just go to another table and plug in and look at all the different PDFs and say, okay, these are the great prospects, these are the okay prospects, these are the maybe prospects. Then from there, what are their deadlines. You don’t need fancy software to track grants, at least at this level for prospect grants. So that’s kind of how I do it.

The library may also contain the business journal book of lists and I highly recommend that you spend some time with that while you’re there. The Business Journal Book of Lists comes from the Business Journal which would be in your area, which is also in Canada. But it’s in the major metropolitan areas of the US mainly, they have the most charitable companies in there and they have what they give to as well. They’ll have a list of maybe like 20 or 50 of them.

On top of that, they’ll have woman on businesses, minority on businesses, they have the fastest growing businesses, they’ll have the top universities, the top hospitals. So if that makes sense for your non-profit, those are the ones to look at, and top car companies, top financial services firms, top law firms. It’s all in there and so it’s this really big book and if you buy it online, it could be anywhere from $75 to $200, so why not just go to your library and if you want to, just copy out what’s in there or photocopy some of the pages from it because that can really save you some time and energy. So Book of Lists, highly recommended, The Business Journal Book of Lists.

Some people ask me to repeat that and I have. Amanda said, “US Consumers and Lifestyles is available from my library. You can see these people who are giving to certain charity types, they’re net worth and income etcetera.” Wonderful. Thanks Amanda, I didn’t know about that. “ is not free but it’s reasonable and people can access it,” said Eliza, “They’re constantly updating their information. One grant will more than pay for it.” You got it.

And there’s . . . Michelle said, “Just FYI, there doesn’t seem to be anything for Canada on the Grantspace site.” Really? That’s such a bummer. I thought for sure they were in Canada, I’m sorry. Adya said, “Can you repeat the website to buy the virtual volunteering book?” Sure thing. It’s or you can use, too. Oh good, and so, “Looks like Michelle, actually Grantspace has a tool . . . organizations in Canada similar to Foundation Center for grant seekers.” Wonderful, thank you so much for sharing that Steven, I really appreciate that.

All right, excellent. So this is how to find grants for free. Again, the Business Journal Book of Lists is excellent and you can see where all the hot libraries are here. I think there’s even some, not very many, but there are some in Nevada, and there’s tons and tons in other places. So go once a week. Go once a month, but do go. You will find so much.

So, now that you have heard what I have to say, which ways will you try to save money now? Here’s a poll question for you. Do direct mail appeals in-house? Do as few events as possible? Don’t pay for grants database? Focus on major gifts, or, Forget Fundraising, I’m digging for pirate treasure. Which one will you try to save money now? “Number one, direct mail appeals in house.” Excellent. Said Madeline. Wonderful. Holly and Cathy and Susan said focus on major gifts. So glad to hear that. Mary Beth said, “Argh, treasure.” Jessica said, “Pirate treasure.” Looks like we have some jokers today, that’s wonderful. Oh, thank you. We have lots and lots of answers here.

Carol said, “All of these.” Yes, I love pirate treasure too. That’s it. “Don’t pay for the grants database.” Exactly, you don’t have to do it. Loren said, “Focus on major gifts and smaller, more targeted, indirect in-house direct mail appeals.” Wonderful. Valerie said, “Win the lottery.” Good Luck. Katherine said, “Everything, really.” Steven said, “Prospect research is kind of like digging for pirate treasure.” It kind of is. I can see that. Michael said, “One through four, or follow the rainbow.” I love that. Jessica said, “But seriously, I love the Fancyhand sleeves.” I love that. I love that you did that, that you’re going to try that. It worked for me when I was working at small non-profits, and all of the stuff that’s in Google Docs usually, they’ll give you the research in Google Docs, and so then you can share with anybody in your org, and it could be a record of what you do after you leave, if you even want that.

Lisa said, “Do as few events as possible.” Excellent. Olivia said, “Do fewer events and focus on major gifts.” Wonderful. Sheila said, “Number one, using email appeal.” Excellent. Ayesha said, “Don’t pay for grants database.” Amanda said, “Database.” Good. Many people said, “Major gifts, we already do the others.” Good. Very good. Loren said, “Focus on MG, smaller, more targeted in-house direct appeals.” Good, we’ve said that. Daryl said, “Don’t forget to mention, Google Grants is a great tool for nonprofits.” Thank you. I actually haven’t gotten a lot of Google Grants myself, but happy to hear other people’s experiences about that.

Christi said, “Do as few events as possible.” Eric said, “Many state nonprofit associations keep an inexpensive database of state local grantors.” Excellent. Sharon said, “Using virtual volunteer sites.” Wonderful. Daryl said, “I’ve gotten two Google Grants.” Good to know. “And I would love to be a resource if people who have questions.” Excellent. Margaret said, “Get the board involved.” Yes. Yes. I kind of assumed that. Yes. Absolutely, Margaret. That’s a really good one. Sarah said, “I’d actually need to get better at prospect research and acquisition to improve the direct mail too. I wonder if there are free resources to improve our lists, and thanks for sharing the info with us.” You’re welcome, Sarah.

Yes, the list that you have . . . this is the thing. The list that you have, your in-house will always be stronger than any other list that you could buy. So we’re going to go . . . actually since we’re kind of already here, we’re going to go your turn. Feel free to share any of your money-saving tactics in the chat, and we will read them out loud and everyone can learn from you. So, yes, people are already doing this.

Back to what Sarah said, the prospect research. People shared some advice about that today, and we will actually be sharing the chat afterwards, Steven says. So that’s good. The things to think about, I’m actually going to be having a webinar in September with Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus group on how to get people get prospects and how to do more in-house cultivation of your current donors, make them become major donors. So in his opinion, he’s a major gifts master, and I am not. What he said is that, “You will not believe the power of your in-house list to actually get you major donors.” A lot of people think they have to do a lot of prospect research, but, even if you think you don’t know any rich people, the most generous people in, at least the US, are the people who make under $50,000 a year. So, that’s something to consider, though.

I do recognize that you need to, like, meet all the rich people you can, no question. But that’s something to think about.

Leslie said, “Crowdfunding campaign.” Yes, that’s a new thing you can do. Mary Beth said, “Can I sign up to get your blogs?” Absolutely. Go to and you can sign up right there, its on the left-hand side of the screen. Joel said, “USPS has changed their postcard rates. Anything larger than a 4.5×6 is a first-class stamp now.” Ah, good to know. So making your postcards smaller than that would be good for you. Beth said, “Check out the local community college print shop.” Love that. Absolutely.

Michael said, “Cultivate service organizations and churches and other groups to do third-party fundraisers for us.” Yes, that’s an excellent idea. Margaret saying get the board involved, and Michael saying cultivate service organizations. That’s lovely. And when I worked at a small domestic violence non-profit, we had a church that gave us a percentage of the offering every single week. So that definitely works.

Again, going back to the listing, be careful, be wary of buying lists without asking the right questions first. I could’ve put that in here, but that may cost money so I’d be wary of doing that. The thing to remember is that you really have to ask the right questions because so many lists out there are just not good. And you have to talk them five or six times before they’ll even give you one donation. So, just going up and asking for a donation right away, unless you have a really good mail piece. It’s really hard to make it a 1% return if you get anything.

So, here’s my embarrassing story. When I worked at a social justice non-profit, I bought a mailing list for I think it was like 250-500 bucks, and we had maybe like, 3,000-5,000 names from that. And so I though, “Okay, let’s just try it. Let’s get these people to come to our event.” And so many of those letters just came back as undeliverable. My boss was like, “I don’t know any of these people. Why did you do this?” He gave me a reprimand and official “You’re a bad person” kind of meeting. I felt really ashamed of that, and I decided that I was not going to take a risk like that again or make a mistake like that again. Actually, I since learned that it’s really important for your boss and your whole team to allow you to make mistakes because that’s how you learn. It’s trial and error. It’s not really about mistakes, it’s about seeing what works.

So what I should have asked for this list that I bought that I got reprimanded for was, “How old is your list? When was the last time you updated it? Do you use the NCOA cass or Telco databases to update it?” NCOA – National Change Of Address list, this is just for the US. You may have to ask different questions around that in Canada. But I also know you have different privacy laws in Canada. You may not be able to buy mailing lists easily, either. So, this is something to look into. But, those are just a few of the questions I should have asked which I didn’t ask. I said, “Can you tell me about these?” And they just said, “Oh I can tell you anything, even your shoe size.”

One place I’ve heard that does have reliable lists that you can buy, unfortunately is Blackbaud. The reason I say unfortunately is because their minimum spend that you have to buy a list for is $1500 and they also make you share your donor list with them in order to buy that list. So, for a lot of people, that’s a cost they don’t want to pay. Personally, I would be really wary of sharing my donor list with anybody. But that’s how they keep your list fresh. That’s how they can tell you these people give to your cause because they’re always updating it, like that. So it’s weird, it’s really weird. But that’s something to think about.

Here’s a free resource for you if you like free stuff. I have an e-course called “Secrets of Finding New Donors.” I want to give you nine new places to find donors offline. Keys to incredible ways to speak and find new donors, and a free diagram to help you find donors now. So if you go to, you will get the first week of this e-course, which is like over a hundred dollars, for free. I would like to give that to you as a present for coming today. That is for you. Thank you. There’s tons and tons of things happening here in the chat that I wanted to chat with people about. So I’m going to read out what they’re saying. Here’s the link again and also it’s put into the chat.

Jill said, “Link in with your current funders so you know when they’d change jobs, and you don’t lose the relationship.” Love that, that’s a really good point. Madelyn said she loves free webinars. I do too, Madelyn. Margaret said, “Make your wells programs and accept stock.” Yes. Really good. Robin said, “Call the news.” Yes, news can get you more donations. Absolutely. And we have a thing here in Portland called Give Guide that really works for people. We got $20,000 for the small domestic violence non-profit that I used to work at. That was big money for us. The Give Guide totally works.

Madelyn said, “Sororities and fraternities love to do their own events and volunteer.” Yes, that’s so true. When we were on Volunteer Match, we had a whole sorority want to come and launch here with our orchestra, which was really fun. Mary Beth said, “A ten-local chamber networking events. Have seen people I’ve met at these events on my donor list.” Yes, that’s such a good idea. And also the chambers have grants, too. Sheila said, “Low-cost, good printing resource is” Joyce said, “Ask for in kind donations for products and supplies we need.” That’s lovely. Yes, Joyce, I love that. That’s really good.

Les said, “I don’t think we can acquire lists in Canada due to privacy legislations. Can you ask the group if I’m correct?” Sure, is Les correct? Can you acquire mailing lists in Canada? Good question. Mary Beth said, “Bless your heart, thanks for giving us permission to fail.” You’re welcome. You need to be able to fail in order to become a better fundraiser, that’s just the bottom line. You don’t learn by succeeding, you learn by failing. And it’s true in business as well, as in fundraising.

Joy said, “Ask for media coverage, print ads and articles, live interviews and radio and television and digital billboards.” Thank you, Joyce. I love that. Susan says, “There’s no submit button for the free e-book week you posted.” Oh, I’m sorry Susan. Tell you what, anybody on here who wants, I made this late last night when I was sick, so I’m sorry. Anybody here who wants this free e-book, just email me, this is my email address, and I will send it to you. We’ll just go with that. So if you want this free week, just go ahead and email me, Thank you for telling me, Susan.

Juan said, “What are the best ways to approach donors in a face-to-face setting?” Oh yes, I know you asked that before, “What is your advice when asking for donation and making them comfortable about giving? It’s not a high-pressure situation.” That’s a really good question, Juan, and unfortunately, it’s sort of beyond the scope of our webinar today. That’s why I would definitely look at some resources online about major gifts around that. Claire Axelrad and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group both have really good resources around major gifts. So I would highly look into that.

Susan said, “You can inquire for certain lists in Canada.” Ruth said, “In kind events space.” Wonderful. Are there any more questions? Daryl said, “I’m looking for laptops. Anyone know a great way to access technology donations?” That’s a good question, Daryl, and actually if you have a tech company in town, they might have old laptops that they’d be willing to give you. I actually got old laptops from Intel for the last non-profit that I worked at full-time. And old computers as well, we had a volunteer come in and set them all up for us, with Windows and stuff, so that worked pretty well. If its a big company like Dell or Intel, I was lucky to be in two cities that had these big corporations there. That works. I would try that for sure.

Also Robin and Don and Gill are all saying in TechSoup., yes. Valerie said, “Check with your local United Way. Some have a tech grant.” Wonderful. Jessica said, “Check with libraries and local schools.” Yes, thank you. “TechSoup is a great donation place. They have a library of archives,” said Sheila. Wonderful. TechSoup, that’s perfect. Thank you for mentioning that. Gary said, “Our school district has a digital provide program.” I love that. Madelyn said, “Local universities can donate computers.” Thank you. I should add that to this presentation, how to get cheap or free computers. Wonderful. Margaret said, “Donor Stock or Stock Donor accepts stock for very small non-profits and sends them a minor fee.” Good to know. That’s excellent.

Ampiyah said, “I made improv part of my non-profit since the beginning because it seems that failure is a part of the journey of success.” I love that. Thank you for sharing that. Robin said, “The REACT Center if you are an educational in Iowa or near there.” Wonderful, thank you.

Does anybody else have any other questions for me right now? Theresa, Lisa and Rebecca said,”” Wonderful. Les said, “Check out for-profit orgs that refresh their hardware.” Absolutely. Brenda said, “You have lessened my fears to fail.” Thanks, Brenda. I appreciate that. Any other questions? If not, maybe I’ll pass it back to Steven and let you take over.

Steven: Cool, thanks so much, Mazarine. That was a lot of fun, and thanks to everyone else who was chatting in and making suggestions. Thanks for adding all that. It’s fun to see some interactions and good ideas. I will send out the transcript of the chat. I don’t usually do that, but since there were so many good ideas, I want everybody else to be able to see that. So, look for an email from me a little later on. I’ll send out the recording, and the slide, as well as that chat transcript. So, Mazarine, thanks for being here. This was really awesome. Thanks for taking an hour out of your day to share all those great resources with us. Some nice hacks there. I would call those fundraising hacks, wouldn’t you?

Mazarine: Thank you.

Steven: Just in case this is your first webinar with us, we do these webinars just about every Thursday. We’ve also a lot of great free resources on our website, you can check out. We’ve got our daily blog. We’ve got some downloadables, our newsletter, our video podcast and the Bloomies, which are an award we give every Friday to great donor communications pieces, great appeal, thank you letters, annual reports. You might get some inspiration for some future pieces there as well.

We’re going to take a couple of weeks off for our summer break, but we’re going to be back on Thursday, August 13, for a real special webinar. We’re going to have two guest speakers. We’re going to team up with Social Media, or Ritu Sharma from Social Media for Nonprofits, and Eventbrite, the company Eventbrite. Some of you maybe have used that for your events. We’re going to team up to talk about social media for promoting events. So check that out. That’s going to be a really cool presentation. We’ve also got some other ones scheduled out into the future as well that you may find it intriguing.

We’d love to see you again. Thanks for being here. Thanks for hanging out for an hour. Look for an email from me later today. We will hopefully talk to you later in August. So have a great rest of your day, and a great weekend. We’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Mazarine: Bye.

Major gift fundraising

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.