This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. ~ George Bernard Shaw
I think fundraisers are among the most wonderful people in the world. They raise money for important causes. They are out-going and fun to be around. Their passion is inspiring and contagious. They’re on a mission!
Most fundraisers know that it’s about more than just money; it’s about helping people invest in making the world a better place – It transforms those who benefit from programs and services. It transforms the giver. And it transforms the fundraiser.
I’ve heard it said that fundraising is part science and part art. I believe this to be true.
In many ways the science of fundraising is more tangible. You apply a formula. Measure the results. And test them by changing one variable at a time. These methods work and are easy to monitor.
The art of fundraising is more ambiguous. It doesn’t really fit into a formula. How does one measure the level of relationship, hope or the overall well-being of a donor?
The science of fundraising allows you to set a campaign goal. You either meet that goal or fall short.
The art of fundraising builds relationships and partnerships. It is open to opportunities that may not fit into a neat and tidy formula.
Here are four things to think about when practicing the art of fundraising:
Asking for, and getting money is transactional. Take it up a level. What does your organization do? How do you make the world a better place? How does it transform your beneficiaries, your staff, your volunteers, your donors and you?
Understanding your donors’ values is the beginning of knowing what motivates them to give. Your organization has core values. So do your donors. Hint: Your values and theirs don’t necessarily have to be the same. You may value a compassionate response to those with substance addictions for example, and they may value education as the answer to the issue. How can you empower them to make the world a better place for those who have addictions while employing their value of education?
See yourself as a peer. It can be daunting to have a conversation with someone who is wealthier than you, or more educated than you, or a famous celebrity. Strip your roles down – you are two human beings having a conversation. You are their mentor, a facilitator – helping them to use their resources to fulfill their dream for a better world.
Listen. I don’t mean repeat back to them what you just heard them say or interject with a story that relates to theirs. I mean, stop talking. Shut up! Listen for what they value. Listen to what their dream for a better world looks like. Be open to new ideas and ways to work together.
Do you have a transformational fundraising story? Please share it below or contact me here if you would like to write a guest post for The Other Bottom Line blog.
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