Tagged: fundraising

How Much Do You Care About Your Donors?

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I’m not challenging your goodness or integrity.

As a fundraiser, you work hard to support a cause that means a lot to you. You strive to connect your donors’ passions to the needs of people your organization cares for.

And you are successful by staying true and focused on your organization’s mission and vision. This is exactly what you should be doing. Good for you!

But what happens when others are finding solutions to the cause that is important to you in different ways or through other organizations?

Do you feel tempted to create a new program in order to win their support?

Do you try to convince your donor to change her mind on the type of program she supports by trying to convince her that your organization’s methods or goals are better? Or reach more people?

Or do you recognize that other organizations may be filling much-needed gaps in the bigger picture of the cause you care deeply about and choose to honour the passion of each individual making a difference in ways that are meaningful to them?

Maybe it’s not about who is better at what. Maybe it’s about each person doing their part and in doing so, achieving better results than anyone of us could have, alone.

What do you think?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Making A Difference Where It Matters To You

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Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you ~ Oprah Winfrey

Fundraising is FUN!

You get to meet and be inspired by so many wonderful people who want to make this world a better place. You get to match great need with needed resources.

You get to be part of something that is transformational.

You get to build community.

So make sure you’re aligned with an organization that answers a need you’re passionate about. One that mirrors your vision and values.

Making a difference where it matters to you, is just as important to a fundraiser as it is to a donor.

Are you making a difference where it matters to you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

 

Two Simple, Yet Powerful Words…

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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow ~Melody Beattie

A FEW YEARS BACK I got to do one of my favourite things.

I sat down at my desk with a list of ten names.

Each had made a recent donation to the non-profit organization I worked for.

These ten people contributed to the bottom line.

But there’s a deeper story.

About a week or two before this list hit my desk;

Ten people in the privacy of their homes thought about my organization.

They thought about the work that is done;

how it makes the world a better place;

they thought about their loved ones who receive quality care from our passionate and dedicated staff;

and then each one, in his/her own home, sat down and wrote a cheque.

That just blows my mind. It fills me with deep gratitude.

Armed with my list I had the privilege of calling each one to tell them that:

  • they made my day
  • we couldn’t do it without them
  • and thank you.

Turns out I made their day too.

Two simple, yet powerful words.

When’s the last time you said thank you?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Using The Right Tool To Get The Job Done

Anyone who has ever undertaken a DIY renovation or construction project understands the value of having the right tools to get the job done.

Me, in front of the house I helped to build twenty years earlier, Thanksgiving 2012.

Me, in front of the house I helped to build thirty years earlier, Thanksgiving 2012.

IN THE EARLY 80s I TRAVELLED OUT WEST with my boyfriend to help his sister build a house.

Having never built anything in my twenty years of life, I soon found out that I was on a huge learning curve.

I learned plenty about building a house that year. Everything from building walls, trusses and gable ends to installing windows and running electrical wires.

But the most important lesson I took away with me was – having the right tool for the job makes all the difference.

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In the same way, you need the right ‘tools’ to connect the passion of your donors with the passion of your organization.

You will find that the ‘tool’ you’ll reach for the most, will be your listening skills.

Why?

Because if the job at hand is to connect your donors with the work of your organization, you need to tap into their passion and show them how they can achieve their dream for a better world through you.

Ask questions and listen to the answers.

  • Learn why they give to you.
  • Discover what motivates them.
  • Hear their dreams for a better world.
  • Listen to their ideas and feedback.
  • Invite conversation.
  • Stay in regular contact with them.
  • Brag about them every chance you get.

As well as providing you with the significant gifts you need to run your organization, your major donors are a great resource in providing insights, expertise and valuable feedback.

Just as the cartoon below highlights the need for the correct screw head to get the job done, you need to find what connects your donor’s passion to the work of your organization.

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Thirty years ago, I helped to build a house that still stands today, how will you use your listening skills to build strong and lasting relationships with your donors?

Today’s post was inspired by Screw heads by John Atkinson, Wrong Hands. You can find more brilliant cartoons by John Atkinson at Wrong Hands here.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Building An Annual Plan From Scratch

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Having a good annual fund development plan keeps you focused on the work that needs to get done and raises money for your organization. But what do you do when you join an organization that has no plan in place? How do you build a development plan from scratch?

Something that has worked for me is to envision what an annual plan will look like a few years down the road and develop strategies to get there.

SO WHERE TO START?

Examine the current status and get…

  • a good understanding of current trends and challenges.
  • a good understanding of the organization’s fund development history.
  • a good understanding of its donors.
  • a good understanding of who the organization is and what it does.

Explore fund development opportunities including:

  • Monthly Giving program
  • Major Donors program
  • Planned Giving program
  • Direct Mail program
  • Acquisition and Cultivation strategies including, fundraising opportunities with strong calls to action, third-party fundraising, proposal writing, marketing and promotions
  • Strategies for particular constituent types, i.e., individuals, businesses, foundations, groups, etc.
  • Tools and processes, i.e., database implementation, policies, procedures
  • Writing a case for support
  • Creating a good story and photo bank
  • Writing fundraising copy for each program for use in newsletters, fundraising letters, website, etc.
  • Creating a philanthropic culture starting with the board, staff and other volunteers
  • Identifying and developing strategies for capital needs
  • Creating volunteer opportunities and
  • Developing engagement strategies for the community at large

Once you’ve created a document of all the possibilities, develop a timeline for implementation with particular emphasis and detail on the strategies you plan to implement in the next 12 months.

Starting from scratch, allows you to build a plan that is customized to the needs of your organization. Although there is a lot of hard work involved, implementing the organization’s first annual plan will yield positive results.

Have you ever built an annual fund development program from scratch? What are some of the important lessons you learned? What tips would you recommend to someone who is building an organization’s first annual program?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Fundraisers are some of the most inspirational people to be around – their enthusiasm is contagious!

Masters of building strong relationships, fundraisers tap into the passions of donors and create meaningful opportunities that move them to support worthy causes.

Yes, you do well working with others outside of your organization. But how do other departments, within your organization, feel about the development department?

I’ve been around long enough to know about inter-departmental tensions.

Tensions between finance and development; the balance between compliance and seizing opportunities.

Tensions between program delivery and development; the balance between client confidentiality and sharing inspirational stories that show how people’s lives are changed.

Our attempts to build solid fund development strategies can create divisive chasms between departments if we push our agendas through with a You-Wouldn’t-Have-A-Program-To-Deliver-Without-Funds-To-Support-It-So-Get-With-The-Program mentality.

This is problematic because your staff and board are your closest stakeholders. They are your inner circle. If you can’t convince your closest stakeholders on the importance of engaging and soliciting support from your community, your influence and impact with your external stakeholders will suffer for it.

How to put the FUN Back into Fund development

imagesSo how do you get staff on board?

How do you build a foundation on which to create an organizational culture of philanthropy that inspires participation internally?

I think the answer lies in the fundamental point mentioned above.

You are masters in building strong relationships.

Following are some suggestions to promote mutual understanding and strengthen working relationships between departments in your organization.

Sit down with each department leader and: 

  • find out what they’re passionate about.
  • ask them what is important to them in order to do their job well.
  • learn how their role fits into the bigger picture. 
  • explore how you can help them to succeed in their role.

Then explain your role to them. Share how support is raised by connecting the passions of donors with the mission of your organization – how it’s about meeting the needs of your clients with the resources supplied by those who care about your clients.

Then tell them your door is always open:

  • to discuss, address and solve tensions as they come up.
  • to develop ways to work together that are mutually beneficial and encouraging.
  • to hear their ideas and joyfully conspire with them.
  • to provide support and materials needed for them to share their new-found enthusiasm with others.

You build strong relationships. That’s what you do and you’re good at it. So why not create a safe environment where creativity and participation are enthusiastically pursued and a commitment to support each other is valued.

What are you doing to create a vibrant culture of philanthropy in your organization?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.

Building Solid Donor Relationships

When You Are Looking For a Partner, You Have To Decide What Type of Relationship You Want

untitledYou may decide to start with the dating scene.

You just want to get a sense of what’s out there and meet a number of people with different interests and personalities.

Something, many of your parents may have suggested, if they felt you were getting too serious, too soon!

This testing of the waters, helps you to understand what you are looking for, and what potential partners are looking for, in a relationship.

It’s exciting. Sparks fly. Adrenaline is high, but for the most part, dating is a hit-and-miss endeavor.

When You Set Your Mind on Pursuing a Life Partner, It’s a Game Changer

It’s going to take a lot of hard work and it’s not always going to be fun!

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The Same is True When You’re Working With Donors

Acquiring new donors, writing grants for the current year, securing sponsors for your events, etc., is like dating. Although necessary, in and of itself, it is not sustainable for the long-term.

If you want stability, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and it’s not always going to be fun.

Building strong relationships with your donors requires good Stewardship. Things like:

  • finding out what they’re passionate about
  • addressing their concerns and questions
  • commitment and responsibility
  • transparency
  • trust
  • admitting when you make a mistake

What are you doing to strengthen your donor relationships?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.