There’s more to fundraising than raising funds

Relationships that are only about one thing tend not to last. This applies especially to our relationships with donors.


So don’t let asking be the only thing you direct at donors. Include these other things in the mix:



  • Thanking donors for their gifts. Do it in the receipt. Do it anywhere you can. It’s maybe the most important thing you can do to keep donors on board. Thank them after a successful project they gave toward. Thank the after a strong year or season. Dream up cool reasons to be thankful, and let donors know.
  • Reporting back what their giving accomplished. A newsletter is the key place to do this, but look for other ways.
  • Asking for things other than money. Volunteer opportunities. Events. Advocating your cause. Telling friends.
  • Just being nice during the holidays, or on donor milestones, such as the anniversary of the first gift — send a special thank you.

By no means should you feel bad about asking. Asking and giving are the main medium of your relationship with donors. But always do more than ask.


Think of what happens with your donors as a relationship — a real human relationship. You can’t go wrong.


Comments

6 responses to “There’s more to fundraising than raising funds”

  1. Dear Jeff,
    I agree! Invite donors to events, even if it’s just an open house. Let them see what you do.
    Be RESPONSIVE if they email you or call you. That means, within the week, get back to them. Preferably within 48 hours.
    A nonprofit I knew of in Portland Oregon broke a lot of donor and funder relationships because their leader would not return emails, phonecalls, and was consistently late for meetings, or didn’t show up at all.
    It may seem self-evident, but the way we solve relationship building issues in nonprofits is to hire seasoned fundraisers as executive directors. We should not be hiring anyone who doesn’t know how to fundraise and build relationships.
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  2. Dear Jeff,
    I agree! Invite donors to events, even if it’s just an open house. Let them see what you do.
    Be RESPONSIVE if they email you or call you. That means, within the week, get back to them. Preferably within 48 hours.
    A nonprofit I knew of in Portland Oregon broke a lot of donor and funder relationships because their leader would not return emails, phonecalls, and was consistently late for meetings, or didn’t show up at all.
    It may seem self-evident, but the way we solve relationship building issues in nonprofits is to hire seasoned fundraisers as executive directors. We should not be hiring anyone who doesn’t know how to fundraise and build relationships.
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  3. Bill Huddleston Avatar
    Bill Huddleston

    There are literally thousands (many thousands) of campaign volunteers who are never thanked by the non-profits that benefit from their efforts. Who are these people? The volunteers that conduct workplace giving campaigns, including the world’s largest, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).
    If you’re in the CFC, and want to know the one thing you shoud be doing this week, National Volunteer Week, please take a look at the “The CFC April Secret” on my blog at www dot cfctresures dot wordpress dot com.
    It’s too long to post as a comment here, but I’ll be glad to send the article to Jeff and anyone else would like it.
    Regards,
    Bill Huddleston
    The CFC Coach
    BillHuddleston1@gmail.com

  4. Bill Huddleston Avatar
    Bill Huddleston

    There are literally thousands (many thousands) of campaign volunteers who are never thanked by the non-profits that benefit from their efforts. Who are these people? The volunteers that conduct workplace giving campaigns, including the world’s largest, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).
    If you’re in the CFC, and want to know the one thing you shoud be doing this week, National Volunteer Week, please take a look at the “The CFC April Secret” on my blog at www dot cfctresures dot wordpress dot com.
    It’s too long to post as a comment here, but I’ll be glad to send the article to Jeff and anyone else would like it.
    Regards,
    Bill Huddleston
    The CFC Coach
    BillHuddleston1@gmail.com

  5. These are excellent reminders of basic donor cultivation methods. I often say, “How would you like it if every time you see a friend she hits you up for money? How long would she remain a friend?”
    It all ties in with the phrase “friend-raising” instead of “fund-raising”.
    Something else a charity can do besides ask for money is to invite donors to share their opinion. For example: What do donors think about a news story that relates to one of the charity’s programs?
    Good post, Jeff.

  6. These are excellent reminders of basic donor cultivation methods. I often say, “How would you like it if every time you see a friend she hits you up for money? How long would she remain a friend?”
    It all ties in with the phrase “friend-raising” instead of “fund-raising”.
    Something else a charity can do besides ask for money is to invite donors to share their opinion. For example: What do donors think about a news story that relates to one of the charity’s programs?
    Good post, Jeff.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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