3 Fundraising Tips to Help Aviation Museum Take Flight

Nonprofit organizations nationwide are feeling the pinch of declining contributions. Some attribute the double-digit dip in giving that began in 2021 to inflation. Recent changes in tax laws that dramatically increased the standard deduction, resulting in fewer than 10 percent of taxpayers itemizing deductions as compared to 30 percent of taxpayers previously, has also played a role in donations, according to National Council of Nonprofits.

Regardless of the reason that giving is down, nonprofit organizations collectively are striving to redefine themselves and effectively engage with their donor base and potential contributors, according to GivingTuesday.org.

Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association, an all-volunteer nonprofit that operates the Harold F. Pitcairn Wings of Freedom Museum, recently contracted with Katalinas Communications for assistance with fundraising. The greater Philadelphia-area museum, which welcomes between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors each year, has set its sights on expanding its footprint to allow for the display of additional aircraft and the ability to bring some of the prized collection inside and out of the elements.

Generating funds to cover the multi-million-dollar museum expansion is a herculean effort that DVHAA began a decade ago.

What is it about your organization that makes your audience wide-eyed and excited?
My daughter, Hannah, fell in love with the aircraft simulator at the Wings of Freedom Museum.

In thinking about how I would approach this challenge, I immediately thought about what makes DVHAA and its museum unique. For one, the museum’s aircraft simulator that encouraged my wide-eyed, then-4-year-old daughter to aspire to become a pilot, stood out in my mind. To be successful in fundraising – and finding and retaining donors – it’s important that nonprofit organizations dig deep and think about what makes them special and stand out from everyone else.

Speak from the heart

Weaving a personal story or anecdote into an appeal letter is much more compelling than drafting a basic form letter requesting money. Nonprofit work takes passion. Demonstrate that by sharing what captivated you or others to stay involved with your organization.

Engage with your audience

What makes your ideal donor tick? If you’re not sure, the best way to find out is to send a quick survey to learn more about their interests and passions – and how your organization could benefit. Gone are the days of sending out countless impersonal requests. Today’s fundraising is about developing connections and providing that special human piece.

Thank you, thank you!

I cannot stress this enough: Thank your donors for their support. It takes 5 minutes to jot down a handwritten thank you note. But, trust me, that time will pay off when your supporters feel appreciated and recognized for helping your organization reach its fundraising goal.

A full-service public relations and marketing agency, Katalinas Communications can you’re your organization’s nonprofit fundraising. Email us or call Theresa at 215-519-8833 for a no-cost consultation.


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