Launching a Non-Membership CSO: Four Actions to Take
While membership-based CSOs derive their budget from annual dues, launching a CSO that serves a broader public has different funding challenges. The following actions can help a CSO aiming to grow through public funding, individual donations and foundation or company grants:
1. Establish—and leverage—transparency from the get go
Making an early commitment to transparency, and taking practical steps towards online transparency, strengthens your credibility (this is exactly why CiSoRise, and our platform, was born).
2. Promote your activities using images, video and multi (and social) media
Showing funds are being used in a manner consistent with expectations builds trust with supporters and can be used for fundraising, support and volunteer engagement.
3. Recruit existing and future supporters as volunteers, ambassadors or informal members with special recognition
Even if without decision-making power or board representation, volunteers can still benefit from special events, newsletters, status and small (non-taxable) gifts.
4. Use online campaigns and link your in-person events with your online presence
In addition to web donation pages and crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising encourage supporters to connect to/re-create your campaign but tailored to their specific networks, spreading your message on a more personal level and helping new organzations gain credibility. When an in-person event provides an opportunity to engage volunteers and supporters, using social media to promote your event and manage registration lets you raise visibility and organize logistics.