Nowra Fundraising Workshop

Thursday 24 November 2022

On Thursday 17 people from 14 different organisations came together in Nowra to discuss the question ‘what can we learn together about fundraising for our future’. We were also joined by Phoebe from NEMA on behalf of the Australian Government who are helping to fund workshops like this one in the Shoalhaven through Black Summer funding.

All the organisations are participants in the IRCF program generously funded by the Snow Foundation and Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation. Over the past three years this group have gathered to develop collaborative ways forward for their communities and build capacity in their individual organisations. When they came together on Thursday the connection they have built over time was evident as they shared stories of successful fundraising efforts and plans for the future. Great ideas were shared like offering multiple ways for people to support their organisations, nurturing relationships with alumni and past supporters, and making community events fun, inclusive and focused on re-building connections across the community post-covid.

Some key ideas emerged for continued growth:

  • There needs to be more awareness building in the community about what it takes to run a healthy not-for-profit or social enterprise and the need for core operations funding vs only focusing on new projects.
  • The importance of storytelling to connect potential supporters and volunteers to the heart of the organisation.
  • Regardless of organisation size, it’s important to dedicate resources to marketing and fundraising so the message is clear and consistent, and people looking to support the organisation can easily find you (website, social media presence, signage) and the process for them to volunteer or donate is as seamless as possible (giving pathways, onboarding processes).
  • A number of people at the workshop were keen to explore the opportunity to build efficiencies between their organisations to reduce operating costs, minimise duplication and relieve the burden on fundraising.

The group developed some core principles for how and why we are fundraising, and everyone left with a renewed commitment to working together.

What brought you here today?

Opening the day, we invited attendees to check in with ‘What brought you here today?’, with the responses summarised here:

  • Social enterprise has a need for fundraising and inspiration  
  • To discover how we can support NFPs to fundraise 
  • To make better contacts and to focus on volunteers who are raising the money  
  • Looking for “Inspo” for fundraising beyond  grants  
  • How can I help other orgs 
  • We have a waiting list and are here to learn how to raise more funds  
  • We are teenie tiny and rely on fundraising I need more ideas on how to pay for operational costs 
  • We raise money for homelessness 
  • After 2 – 3 years of funding being left on the backburner I want to learn some ideas 
  • We rely on donations and grants – we need operational support 
  • Here to network and know where we stand in the community  
  • To make new connections and learn 
  • Here to Listen and soak up community knowledge here to share.  
  • Improve liability of Sanctuary Point and keen to learn about fundraising.  
  • We are here to connect and share wisdom 
This project received grant funding from the Australian Government and The Snow Foundation.
The Snow Foundation Logo

Principles for fundraising that is worth doing.

During the workshop and conversations, we collected some principles for fundraising that’s worth doing:

Open to New ways of doing things Valuing our people 
Make connections and then build and maintain relationships “friend raising” A compelling story  
Having building blocks in place  Build relationships locally  
Connective collaboration  Share outcomes beyond dollars – stories  
Keep the community at the centre  Have a go! 
Consistency of your message  

What have you seen or experienced that is working for fundraising right now?

In our first round of Café conversations, we uncovered what’s working now, given the changing nature of fundraising:

  • Tangible specific / transparent  
  • Harnessing online tools  
  • Leadership network media profile  
  • Follow up with alumni and previous doners to discuss benefits and outcomes  
  • Compelling stories that demonstrate impact and outcomes  
  • Technology – online challenges, make donating easy
  • Inclusive community engagement and social connection – events grants projects 
  • Profile of nfp website , socials brand et.  
  • Integrity and reputation 
  • Options for giving – inkind, volunteering, cash (endorphins) Qr code, website eftpos  
  • Relationships and trust alumni 
  • Structured funding after listening to community input 
  • Tap n go  
Stories and Tips
  • Events as a catalyst for awareness and giving really positive feedback supporting businesses 
  • Noahs p qr codes, small donations – cash donations – cash buckets – eftpos. Provide extra options and points of giving at events. Kids love to put coins in it links giving to something tangible. Eg: coins/ notes. Use Humantix for events as there is an option for a further donation  – one group had great success with –  (maybe we could make a little box for the tip? ) 
  • The rounding it up feature is also a popular method that works in a 3rd party promotion.  
  • Janis Gordon shared that Shoalhaven City Council community grants are now open
  • More stories from other IRCF communities on the IRCF Hub.

What else is needed or missing in your fundraising?

We uncovered what else is needed or missing from our fundraising in round 2 of our Cafe Conversations.

  • The lag-delay between application and receiving an the knowledge of funders and recipients around this 
  • Collaborative grants and sharing what is available 
  • Volunteer recruitment and an understanding of how to engage with younger vollies 
  • More volunteers – need more support / manpower 
  • Security and data protection issues – need to secure technology for collecting money 
  • Additional support : grant writing , marketing and navigating media 
  • Strengthening connections with alumni and previous donors  
  • Funding for operational costs 
  • Case studies and stories – to provide good marketing.  
  • Capacity – grants that support capacity  
  • Better awareness of the social enterprise model and social benefit / impact 
  • Broader education for community and funders about the importance of funds for general operating costs “Paying what it costs”

Where do you want to focus your energy now?

In round 3, we spoke our intentions, and made some offers and requests to help grow our collective capacity for fundraising that’s worth doing:

  • Shoalhaven Education Fund – Succession planning – bringing more people (younger) onto the committee and step up into leadership roles in due course.  
  • Shoalhaven Business Chamber – connecting NFPs, commercial business and opportunities for collaboration volunteer recruiting and shared resources.  
  • Carolyn FRRR – An admin piece to ensure grant opportunities are shared with the IRCF participants  
  • Phoebe  NEMA – Engaging youth and improving involvement in nfps and government.  
  • Pathways Foundation – High net worth donations and collaboration with other organisations 
  • Australian Red Cross – Explore contemporary methods of fundraising using technology  
  • Being clear about the direction and exactly what you want to achieve.  
  • Deb FRRR – Supporting the building of capacity around fundraising, grant seeking and marketing 
  • Flagstaff – connecting hearts and wallets (with impelling stories) creating and building relationships (networking)  
  • Case Studies, stories showcasing the success of our organisations to past and prospective donors.  
  • Leadership / Mentoring training networking in local region to engage and collaborate, also increase our fundraising and networking capacity.  
  • Nowra Community Food Store – investing in volunteers, understanding their motivations to better attract and retain them as they will drive the fundraising efforts operationally.  
  • Sanctuary Point Community Pride – project to shine a light on local history – building pride in our community and encouraging exercise. Develop a fundraising strategy to achieve this project.  
  • ROCC Collaborate to complement and grow the outcomes for each service  – leading to shared resources / skills and operational burdens. This will maximise opportunities for our services.  
  • The Rise Hive – support community organisations to build their capacity (training and identifying needs and grant writing). 

Closing the Day

As a check out, we asked people to speak who they wanted to connect with next. There was a diverse range of intended connections and a marketplace of asks and offers! Here’s more of what some shared:

  • A head full of ideas buzzing around – thinking how it will apply to my situation, my org – very stimulating day 
  • I thought I was coming for a list of practical ideas – more importantly thinking the step before that is to shift to invest in our volunteers to take their ideas and passions  
  • Reinforced what I am doing is enough – good building blocks! My mind is blown people! 
  • I met lovely people and the business chamber hopefully can now offer support to grow, connect others and be better  
  • Inspired to sit with such passionate and inspirational people. Sharing stories and the power of a story it is lovely to hear all your stories.  
  • Meeting new people and really being part of a community  
  • Hearing stories come to life – the opportunity in IRCF to provide support beyond granting – listen and amplification of Nowra voices.  
  • Feeling very inspired by stories and how many good things are happening. I have a lot of ideas for our org thank you.  
  • Importance of building relationship in real time – face to face – going back to the roots and connecting with community.  
  • Very energised, our branding has launched and I love the connection and collaboration and look forward to more valuable opportunities to get together, share and be inspired the burden feels less! 
  • Light bulb moment – Understanding people are wanting to help – letting people help in ways they want to is a relief and something I am going to try 
  • A new sense of energy from today  
  • Much cleaner understanding of what’s already known. Hear others stories – we found ourselves in those stories.  
  • Grateful for the opportunities to strengthen communication and connection in this region. Every conversation have learned and been touched – inspired to make connection and a great sense of relieve. I love seeing familiar faces.  
  • Good to get NFP perspective. Step out of the government bubble – love all of our jobs – our community its what we all have in common.  
  • Leaving with a very full cup hopefully and inspired so much wisdom in this room – curious who else is not here.  
  • A long list of support learning and growth.