Improving Revenue & Fundraising

Is your non-profit shooting club or range being hit hard by declining revenue and funding?  TSM Worldwide recently completed work with several 501 (c) (3) non-profit shooting organizations and came up with some ideas and recommendations you should consider at your club.

1. Develop a “sustaining member” program with ongoing payments via credit cards, and convert annual members to sustainers over time.

Sustainers would commit to membership donations at a pre-determined monthly level, and payment would continue indefinitely with credit card.  These membership programs tend to yield higher retention rates and wallet share than annual membership models in the long run.  Often these types of member programs make fundraising simpler, recruiting cheaper, and have the benefit of making cash-flow more predictable.

2. Analyze members and funding sources, identify the more passionate and well-resourced, and create an “elite” sustaining member program extension. 

Often times 20% of the membership and funding base provides 80% of the energy and other resources necessary for a club.  Use this to your club’s advantage.  Give this elite group more attention, more benefits, and develop a campaign to develop them as partners.  This isn’t to say that you should ignore the other 80%.  On the contrary, you should consider, dropping some and seeking more valuable members, especially if your club has a cap on its membership.  This could be done by raising the bar for membership in terms of volunteer service obligation, membership fees, or both for example.

3. Get the word out about your charitable status and elicit donations with an old-fashioned fund-raiser. 

Lots of shooting clubs have formal charity status with the IRS but few actually make the most of this special status.  For example, if your club newsletter or website doesn’t mention it’s a 501 (c) (3) charity, and that you rely on contributions, make some changes and start doing so.  Lots of people and business give for goodness sake, even now, and you should seek them out.  This could be done by using your membership connections to put the word out about all the good your club does for the youth of your area.  Also, urge existing members to give more of their charity dollars directly to the club instead of some other charity.  Don’t forget to talk to those long-time members about including the club in their estate planning.  Finally, check with your local schools, places of worship, and workplaces to see if you could put some signs up to generate interest in the non-profit mission of your club.

The difficult economy presents opportunities to rethink how your club works (or doesn’t work) with respect to revenue and fundraising.  The ideas above just might work for your non profit club.  Why not give them a try?  Who knows, these ideas might help take your club to the next level!

First published by NRA’s Club Connections Magazine.  Volume 14, Number 2.   September / October 2009. Page 26.   Author was Jeff Moran, Managing Director of Target Sports Marketing / TSM Worldwide LLC and Director of Marketing & Membership for the non-profit North Star Rifle Club, a Minnesota-based 501 (c) (3) dedicated to promoting competitive high-power and service-rifle marksmanship.