In the world of fundraising, the term “unrestricted funds” refers to money that can be used by your organization for any areas of need, at your discretion. Compare this to specific fundraisers geared toward raising money for a certain identified need or project—unrestricted fundraising involves general asks for donations.
Alumni organizations, like any other type of nonprofit organization, must be successful in raising unrestricted funds to achieve success. The challenge is that donors are generally more willing to give money for something specific, because it gives them a concrete idea of where their money is going.
So how do you encourage your alumni to donate in an unrestricted manner? Here are a few tips.
- Add an “unrestricted” option: If you have a list of specific causes to which alumni can donate, you should add a box that says something along the lines of “use my gift for any organizational needs.” This will at least give your donors the option of “unrestricting” their gift.
- Make unrestricted the default: You can opt instead to make it clear that you are raising money primarily for unrestricted funds, but still give donors the option of using a gift exclusively for a particular project. If donors do not check that box, then the money you get will be unrestricted.
- Talk about the use of unrestricted funds: Even if you don’t give specific causes to which your alumni can donate money, you should still talk about how you will use unrestricted funds. You can mention money raised will be put toward planning and organizing alumni events, supporting school district initiatives and outreach to non-member alumni. This helps to contextualize what gifts from your alumni will accomplish, even if they don’t have a specific project they’re supporting.
- Always include disclaimers: Any time you’re raising money specifically for unrestricted funds, you should be upfront that the money being raised is for general support of your organization.
Interested in learning more about the best strategies you can employ to find success in raising unrestricted funds for your alumni organization? Contact the team at Alumni Nations for more tips and guidance.