fundraising wish listIn his mind-blowing TED talk on fundraising, the experiences entrepreneur Dan Pallota, explained that the way charity works is changing fast and there are certain steps you need to take if you want your NFP to adapt and take the most out of the situation. Expanding on Dan’s ideas, we can easily identify one of the things every charity needs nowadays – a wish list. If you do not have one yet, read on – hopefully, this post will help you create one.

Who decides what to donate?

The problem of charities who have no wish lists is that they depend on the choice of the people who decide to donate. And often, these people have no idea what exactly you need. They can make an educated guess and usually this guess is pretty obvious, sometimes unfortunately obvious. An example is given in this post on wish lists by Cause & Effect: a shelter for homeless families, who had an abundance of mattresses, but no beds to put them on, and no means to buy some. The situation could be different, however, if the shelter decided to advertise their needs with the help of a wish list.

How does a wish list work?

How exactly to do that? The whole process is very simple. Start by adding everything you need to a wish list. The list may contain various things: items relevant to your NFP (books, beds, mattresses, toys, clothes); money for a project, event or an expensive piece of equipment (trips, annual comedy nights, medical equipment, computers); or a volunteer with particular set of skills (a web developer to build a new website, a cook to help in the canteen, an accountant to help with keeping your books etc.). All these things may be easily accessible for your NFP – and you can be sure that many people are willing to help but don’t know how. Now you can do them a favour and help yourself by telling them exactly what you need.

Spreading the word

Once you have your wish list prepared, make sure you spread the word. Put it on your website and in your e-mail signature, print it on the back of advertising materials and business cards, hand it out to prospective donors, sponsors and volunteers, mention it when making new connections. If you are on good terms with local newspapers, venues and professionals, ask them to publish/pin it somewhere visible for their customers. You will be surprised by the results – people are naturally inclined to do good and to help, they just need to be encouraged and motivated. And don’t forget that something vital for your organisation may be long forgotten in the cellar of a local café regular, who will be happy to donate it to you!

As you see, wish lists can be something very useful for your organisation, and, at the same time, quite easily created. So what are you waiting for – draft one and start getting ideas from the board members and the volunteers for new items to add. Or do you already have a wish list? If so, we will be happy to read its contents in the Comments section below!