Essentials of fundraising for the memory-challenged
Limited budgets require economies of scale so nonprofits must make important choices that allow them to generate quality donor relations—not quantity. Mass marketing is dead; nonprofits must acknowledge the awesome possibilities real donor relationships bring and carry out their plans with their eye on what the donor wants—not what they think they want.
“Despite the recession, despite greatly increased competition, despite the pace and scale of recent developments, there have never been more opportunities for relationship fundraisers than now,” says Burnett. It is critical that nonprofits take a meticulous inventory of how they are communicating with prospects and donors and ask themselves the question “Are we thinking of the donor or the gift when we craft a plan or a message?”
Ken Burnett’s Relationship Fundraising is a broad overview of the fundraising profession and how practitioners can incorporate relationship-building in everything strategy. Burnett lays the groundwork by exploring what motivates people to give and what makes a successful fundraiser. This list below is excerpted from Relationship Fundraising and is comprised of fundraising essentials every practitioner should know and it’s helpful to be reminded of every now and then.
An excerpt of essential foundations of fundraising
Successful fundraising involves storytelling.
Great fundraising is sharing. Share goals, encourage involvement. Involved donors give more.
Turn complaints into support. The most loyal donor has complained and received a satisfactory response.
The value of trustworthiness to a donor increases in importance as they get older.
Great fundraising requires imagination.
Great fundraising is getting great results. If your results are mediocre, your fundraising probably is too.
Be honest, open and truthful with donors. They do not forgive you if you are less than straight with them.
Avoid waste. Donors hate waste.
Technique must never be allowed to obscure sincerity. As all actors know, you can’t fake sincerity.
Fundraisers must talk to donors where they are. That’s not always where the fundraiser wants them to be.
Fundraisers and donors have a relationship of shared conviction.
Great fundraising means being “15 minutes ahead” so you can spot opportunities and take careful risks.
Fundraisers should learn the lessons of history and experience. Do your homework.
Always “thank” properly, often [and promptly]. Be brilliant at welcoming new donors.