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Here’s a Secret That You May Want to Tell Your Donors

Here’s a Secret That You May Want to Tell Your Donors

You have a secret that you may not have told your donors. Your nonprofit colleagues know about it. The board of directors is in the know AND WE know what it is.

It is the fundraising dollars you’ve brought in during the pandemic!

Over the last several months, recurring questions have been asked both in-person and virtually. People look around to see if anyone is listening and say, almost in a whisper, “We raised more money last year than in the history of our nonprofit. Now, we have reserves. How do we raise money if our donors don’t think we need their donation?”

The answer is to refer to their Case Statement to address this candidly. What are you able to do with the reserves that you were unable do before that is still within your mission? Be transparent. Tell the donor that you are so fortunate that you have such generous donors, like them, which enables you to add a new program this year. You could use it to have a donor appreciation party. One nonprofit even used it to hire me as a consultant!

A quagmire with this is some nonprofits get into is that they use the reserves to give everyone a raise. Whoops! That isn’t sustainable because now they must raise money to cover that into the future. Some nonprofits hired a new employee. Once again, unless that is a fundraising position (income-producing), the nonprofit must raise more money to cover it.

Successful organizations have added to an already existing program. For instance:

  • STEM Summer Camp was added by Vail Christian High School for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for grade school and middle school students.

  • Scholarships for people to participate in an art program.

  • Walking Mountains Science Center installed outside billboards of large photos that Eagle Valley Wild, a nonprofit, had taken. They were displayed during their gala showcasing the photos that are available for free for nonprofits to use.

Although these programs may not generate more income, once donors see that you are good stewards of their money, they may be willing to help the programs continue. Especially if you tell them the impact it has on the people you serve.

You may determine that you would like to continue having a reserve in future years. To help preserve it, ZGIVE has some great options to help you raise money without having a live event. They take the hard work out of auctions because in addition to an easy-to-use auction platform, they offer best-selling auction items - available in their online Risk-Free Auction Item Shop.

Your nonprofit’s good fortune to have a reserve doesn’t have to be kept a secret! It can be a huge asset to help you raise even more money and possibly expand some of your programs.

Learn more about how ZGIVE can help your organization raise money with their digital event fundraising/auction platform. Visit to learn more.

Guest Blogger, Robin Thompson, is a professional fundraising consultant, trainer and coach. Robin managed over $17 million in assets as Executive Director at a university. As Vice President of a prominent foundation in Vail, Colorado, Robin and her staff were responsible for raising over $10 million annually. She successfully designed and implemented a $3.9 million Comprehensive Campaign and closed two debt reduction campaigns, each one raising several million dollars in less than one year. Robin has built endowments from less than $100,000 to over $2 million in short periods as well.


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