Most Effective Fundraising Strategies

Posted: Apr 27th, 2017 Updated: Dec 07, 2020

There is always more to do and not enough time to do it, so you must prioritize how you spend your time and what fundraising strategies you focus on.

When figuring out how to accomplish your financial plan, you want to think about your time in terms of dollars raised per hour spent fundraising.

Got a chance to sit down with Tony Stark or Oliver Queen? Definitely take the meeting. Peter Parker, the starving freelance journalist, wants to have lunch? Well...while that may be tons of fun, it might not be the best use of time in terms of fundraising. Send him a letter, email, or text.

When figuring out what is the best tool or method to approach a specific donor, or how that donor might fit into your fundraising plan, use this handy cheat sheet and learn how to maximize your time.

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Face-to-face meetings are always the most successful, but they take courage and charm. Why are they so successful? Because it is easy to ignore an email or letter, but much much hard to say “no” when you are meeting one-on-one. Face-to-face meetings are for your major donor prospects, or that top 20% - 40% of your donor triangle.

For more details on fundraising in person, check out this post.


Phone Calls

Phone calls are excellent methods for soliciting medium and large gifts. They are quick and still have a personal touch that is greater than an email, text message, or a blind letter.

For more details on fundraising over the phone, check out this post.


Finance Committee

Finance committees can be great, or they can be about as helpful as Buffy’s Watcher's Council if you're not careful. The reality is, finance committees can be helpful, but they need hand-holding to keep them engaged and on task.



Events are great opportunities to raise awareness and get people involved, but they are not great fundraisers. There are always lots of logistics and building the crowd takes time and energy. Use events strategically and sparingly.

For more details on event fundraising, check out this post.


Direct Mail

Direct mail is not dead! Surprisingly, it is still one of the most successful ways to find new donors and keep existing donors engaged in your organization. Remember, the goal of a prospecting mailer is to break even, or at least recoup the majority of its cost. The real value in direct mail is through soliciting your previous donors.

For more details on direct mail fundraising, check out this post.



Email is one of the most successful and important ways to raise money. Email fundraising is all about focusing on quantity over quality. You need to be constantly out there, constantly pushing your message, and constantly asking for money. It is low cost, but also low return in the quantity and amount the average donor gives. This is very similar to social media fundraising as well.

For more details on email fundraising, check out this post.


Social Media

Social media fundraising is a great way to keep your base engaged and build your potential donor list. As mentioned above in emails, social media is all about the quantity you are posting. there needs to be a constant stream of current content on each social media site you have. If you aren't going to post on it, don't create it.

For more details on setting up your social media fundraising, check out this post.

Matt Lyon

Matt has over 12 years of political fundraising experience. Matt’s experience includes overseeing up to fourteen staff members, administering budgets exceeding $1.1 million annually, directing million dollar paid media programs, raising over $5 million for various causes and organizations, and developing and implementing communications strategies that led to dozens of stories in local and national outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post. Matt is an experienced and campaign veteran always willing to help the next candidate make a difference.