If the first three rules of fund raising are:
In the fundraising consulting business, like institutional development, we deal with people. If we are to deal with them effectively and successfully, we have to be able to connect with them personally. To the degree that we can make that personal connection and work to build and strengthen that connection, we are then able to create the conditions for our own success and the success of the organizations we strive to represent.
Topics: Campaign Feasibility and Planning Studies, Capital Campaigns, Communications and Networking, donor communication, donor relationships, donor stewardship, Fundraising Principles, General Articles, Professional Skill Building
What’s the most effective way to raise money? Special events, direct mail, phone calls? The reality that many board members of nonprofit organizations often find difficult to confront is that face-to-face visits remain the most effective strategy for fundraising, far outpacing special events, direct mail and telephone calls. Personal visits for fundraising fall into three main categories: discovery, cultivation, and solicitation. My family and I enjoy visiting a South Texas museum and observing the enthusiasm and energy of younger visitors. On Saturday mornings, you’ll see many children lining up to participate in the museum’s Treasure Hunt. This popular activity for children and families sends participants scurrying through every part of the museum to find answers to questions related to the dazzling and informative displays. In addition to more knowledge about science and history, the finishers receive prizes. Discovery visits with donors interested in your organization resemble the Treasure Hunt, although the stakes are higher. The key to a donor Treasure Hunt is to search and uncover donors with values compatible with your mission and your organization. When donors make a gift to your organization, they are saying in a very tangible way that your mission reflects their values. As shared values between you and your donor increase, so also does giving. Why should you conduct discovery visits? Many organizations lack a clear understanding of the values of their donors—the information they have now doesn't give a clear picture of the donor’s philanthropic interests and how those interests might be fulfilled by the organization’s own values, vision, and strategic plans. Thus, discovery visits provide an enjoyable and highly productive way to identify a donor’s giving priorities and values and learn how the interests of both the donor and the organization can be realized. Discovery visits accomplish three objectives:
Each day can be hectic, with people, problems, and politics that clamor for our time and mental energy. In the midst of the hubbub and the minutiae of daily life in our organization, it's important to take a step back from time-to-time to look at how we can be strategic in shaping our organization and in helping it to better serve our community. What follows are seven strategic touch points that are worthwhile to review to keep our thoughts, plans and actions focused on improving our long-term fundraising outcomes.
What should you do when someone gives you $250,000? Well, that depends upon who it is, how much was asked of them and why they gave it to you! The answer to this question varies with the circumstances surrounding this gift. Obviously, no matter what the circumstances, you want to thank this person profusely and to let them feel your genuine gratitude. There are many instances, however, where the best, most sophisticated solicitor—the one who always gets the larger gifts—is going to do much more. They are going to ask them to double that amount.