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Individual donors

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Despite the struggling economy, energy spent cultivating individual donors paid off for 220 nonprofits that raised $35.2 million this year, a fundraising group says.

That average of $160,000 per group comes from focusing on each nonprofit’s mission, then crafting a message that resonates with donors, says Raising More Money, a Seattle group that provides training in what it calls “mission-based fundraising”.

For a mental health center in San Antonio, that meant releasing a balloon for each child it could not afford to help, while a children’s center in Detroit adorned tables with decorations made by abused and mentally disabled children.

Many charities spend their time cultivating foundations and corporations instead of the individuals who supplied 74.5 percent of charitable donations last year, according to the Giving USA Foundation.

But by reaching people with a compelling message, instead of focusing on charity balls and golf tournaments, nonprofits can tap a lucrative source of new donors, Raising More Money says.

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