In 1988 Trent Wheeler needed to raise $2,400 per month to underwrite his mission work in New Zealand. At that time $2,400 might as well have been $1,000,000! He had no idea how to raise money, where to look, or who could help him. Despite this fact, Trent raised his support for the next two years in just 90 days. That was the beginning of his foray into Fundraising and Development work.
In 1990 Trent returned to work in the United States earning a meager $300 per week and struggled to find a way to make ends meet. Along with a partner (James Harrison) he opened a direct mail marketing business in downtown Alachua, FL. Beginning in a bedroom office, the two men had to move the business three times in the first year just to be able to handle their growing volume of business. After several years of studying everything on direct marketing, target marketing and customer development and retention, Trent recieved a call from a friend at a non-profit. His simple question had a significant impact on the next 18 years of Trent’s life, “Why don’t more non-profits and charities use the tested and proven marketing methods that other businesses use to succeed?” Why Indeed!
From that day in 1996 Trent Wheeler has been helping non-profit organizations through a very simple philosophy – “Raise more money, while spending less.” Non-profits don’t struggle because of the lack of effort or commitment – they struggle because they are not following the simple, proven methods of fundraising development. It all begins with understanding where the pot of gold is hidden:
- Individual Giving – Private individuals represent nearly 85% of all charitable contributions in the United States today.
- Earned Income – surprisingly some non-profits don’t take advantage of branding and marketing a product simply because they view themselves as a non-profit organization.
- Event Fundraising – Dinners, fun runs, auctions, concerts and any other special event that is designed to raise money, or build and expand your donors.
- Corporate Giving – this includes corporate sponsorships (like we see between the NFL and Cancer Research), partnerships, or seeking direct funding through the corporations charitable division.
- Grants and Foundation – Foundations are set up to provide a tax shelter to individuals and businesses that want to give. Most foundations have their own area of interests, but these are often neglected because of the work involved on the front end to secure funding.
- Estate Gifts – this resource requires organizations to do a good job with individual giving and building relationships. People leave money (and tangible property) to those organizations who build relationships.
For the past 15 years Trent has worked with non-profit organizations who raise millions of dollars each year and with those who operate on a budget of less than $100,000. In each case he focuses on implementing policies and programs that allow for the long-term, consistent, financial growth of the charity. Fundraising is about doing the right things, at the right time.
For a list of references of organizations Trent has worked with, or information on how to receive a free assessment of your organization’s needs, contact Trent Wheeler through his contact page and he will typically respond within 24 hours (if he is working within the United States at the time). You can also find more information on his fundraising consulting page.
You may also want to visit our 5 Steps to Successful Fundraising page.