Why Engage Others in Fundraising?

Because we, development officers, can’t do it all or reach everyone.
Because people give to people.
Because engaging others expands an organizations capacity to grow.

Last post I wrote about EVERY organization needs a major gift program. To be successful, or even to start a program, donors, staff and volunteer leadership need to be engaged. Major gift fundraising is all about the one-on-one ask, high-touch cultivation and solicitation. But more than that, it is about the RIGHT person or people doing the one-on-one.

So many posts about this, so little time. Every Board member should be a major donor. Part of their responsibility is to help fundraise. Preparing them, matching them with people they know or affiliate with, sharing research and giving histories, setting up and attending meetings with them are part of our responsibility as development officers. We want them to succeed and need to set them up to do so.

Staff Leadership – CEO or ED
Bottom line, this is the person who is ultimately responsible for the organization, making the budget and spending the money. When a donor is making a major gift, they like to meet the leader. Who is the person leading the mission and vision, handling successes and challenges. There are many great leaders who are fundraisers and others who need the same staffing and coaching as a reluctant Board member.

Other donors who have already made a major gift, whatever that amount maybe, should be asked to help reach others. These donors have already stepped up and walked the walk. You should know these donors pretty well. Pick the most outgoing, passionate about your cause, great to be around people. Create a group or club for them belong to. Hmmm, are they already on your Board? Let’s hope so.

Current and prospective major gift donors may have a special interest in a particular program. Engaging staff who know that program are the best people to talk about it. In a previous post I wrote EVERYONE on staff is a fundraiser. This is where the rubber meets the road. The staff member doesn’t have to ask for the gift, they need share the successes and challenges of the program. They need to share their passion for the work. Sure some training might be a good idea, but it’s a win-win. Staff member gains new skills, gets good at it, enjoys it. Donors get to hear about a program from front line folks. Gift comes in and staff have a new respect and understanding for the fundraising process and their role in it.

Next post: Now that we have engaged others in major fundraising, how do we set them up for success?

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