No, this isn’t a missive about being time to change how you do things (although, if you feel you need to, please, consider this a nudge!) This is a note about a change in my world which I think we both can benefit from.
As of March 17, this “column” (this blog) moved over to the new NonProfit Pro magazine (formerly “Fundraising Success” magazine). I highly encourage you to subscribe. To find it, head to this link: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper
NonProfit Pro is a magazine for those of you who are professional nonprofit leaders. Its content will include fundraising and more… and my blog, “Digging Deeper” will do the same. Yes, you’ll find some of the fundraising thoughts I’ve provided for the last several years to you, and you’ll see some new material based on what I teach and observe in the nonprofit world.
I look forward to “seeing” you at my new address: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper
Sign up for the RSS feed here: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/links/npprotodaysignup/index.html?src=hdlk14
and find the other NonProfit Pro sites here:
Okay, now is the time for me to channel my “old grumpy self.” Here we go… “When I was a kid, we didn’t have “President’s Day, we had Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and George Washington’s Birthday on February 22.” Harumph! (Truth be told, when I was a kid, I just liked having two days off from school!)
Today we have one day for all presidents, which usually falls right between Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays. It’s the day we honor them for their service, regardless of political stripe or whether they were “successful,” by whatever definition. It’s a tough job and we expect a lot of them…. maybe just like the president of your organization?
Do you have a President’s Day? Yes. Every day you put her or him in front of a donor, signature on a letter, or voice on the phone, you’re asking a lot. Believe it or not (and I’m sure that you believe it), not every president enjoys fundraising. In fact, a lot of them loath it. That’s why you need to honor them for their service in fundraising each time they do it. You need to reward their efforts by congratulating them for each and every accomplishment.
Remember President’s Day in your organization. Have a party and thank him or her for their service… then get ’em out to do some more!
Do your donors feel your love? February is a great time to show it. Of course, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, and a number of nonprofits take this opportunity to send an “I love you” message. But do your donors know why you love them? Money? Just like with someone you are dating or marry, if it’s for money, it’s the wrong reason!
If not money, then what else? How about your shared interest in your mission? The money wouldn’t be there unless your donor shared your vision of a better world! Let ’em know that. Let ’em know that the reason you love them isn’t about you… and it’s not even about them (or their money). Your relationship is based on a mutual interest in the people or cause you serve. They’ll probably love that.
In my observation, organizations raise more money using methods that are most comfortable to their top leaders and volunteers.
Think of it this way…
- People who like to write are drawn to proposals and direct mail.
- People who like parties do special events.
- People who like to connect with others like major and planned giving.
Then why are you trying to do every kind of fundraising… especially the kind of fundraising you really don’t like to do? Chances are, if you don’t like to do it, you won’t do it well.
This doesn’t mean you should stop your annual event if it gets you the visibility you need and names to add to your mailing list. However, it does mean that you shouldn’t try to do five events if they suck up all your time and make a tiny dent in your budget. If events exhaust you and writing energizes you, you’ll probably raise more money with proposals and direct mail copy.
Remember: There is no “one” way to raise money. However, there is one way that you can love raising money… and that’s as unique as you.