Through this blog series, I hope you have identified useful information that can be easily implemented into your organization. From the basic understanding of the fundraising cycle, to sources of funding, using social media and developing your board to think like fundraisers, each element plays an important role in achieving fundraising success. This post will tie everything together:
Acknowledgement – Thoughtful stewardship is the foundation of fundraising and relationship management. Donors should be thanked—on average—three times for every gift made. Touch points can include: immediately following the donation (i.e. on your website after entering their credit card information), a formal acknowledgement letter from a senior member of your team and one additional “thank you" that should—if possible—be face-to-face. Try to avoid only contacting your supporters when you are asking for money. Be creative with your touch points, update your supporters on the development and implementation of new projects, share successes and report on future goals.
Inspire – In a world where there are countless non-profits competing for the same dollars, what sets you apart? Ask yourself why people give to your organization and then ask your donors…and then utilize their responses! I previously referenced Mr. David Rubenstein—a signer of The Giving Pledge—and what motivates him to give. As a reminder, Mr. Rubenstein said, “there are three reasons that I give money away: to start something that otherwise wouldn’t be started; finish something that otherwise wouldn't be finished; and personal, intellectual interest.” It is essential to create a case for support, a sense of urgency and address the impact that a gift will have in your community. Donors want to know that they are making a difference. If you’re able, tug on the heartstrings…everyone loves a good story.
Innovate – With fierce competition in the non-profit world, the most successful fundraisers are the ones who are innovative in their approach and diverse in their fundraising strategy. Social media is a perfect example of how fundraising has changed dramatically over the years. While using social media, your reach is far greater than your own backyard. Be creative, incentivize, find new ways of fundraising—like participating in Giving Tuesday—and be sure to analyze each campaign upon its completion. Use a variety of ways to reach your philanthropic goals, including: grants, events, athletic endeavors, written appeals and individual leadership gifts.
Attract – Every organization—no matter the size—needs to have door openers. Networking and cold-calling will only get you so far. Your volunteer leaders—such as board members—should not only be fundraisers and philanthropists themselves, but be willing to open doors for you. Your internal champions should be advocating for you in the community, hosting dinners at their homes to educate people about your organization, helping you to identify prospects and introducing you to potential supporters. As they say, it takes a village!
You may not see it at first, but if you look carefully—and work your way back to the top of this page—you will see that this recap looks a lot like the fundraising cycle. If you follow : Identify, Qualify, Cultivate, Solicit and Steward, you’ll be sure to succeed!
Interested in learning more? Contact Amanda Ravens at email@example.com
Read other posts in this series: