Fundraising v Fundcatching – Five Suggestions

December 12, 2017 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

There is a difference, you know? Although there are nonprofit organizations and professional fundraisers who measure their success by how much they raise not by how they raised it.

Let’s change semantics here – how about proactive v reactive fundraising. Many nonprofit organizations are very fortunate to have a regular stream of donations, large and small, sent to them.

Donor acquisition campaigns via direct mail and online giving provide a stream of new, one time donations and work fairly well for charities with a good brand. But even those result in 1-2% return rate against a high cost.  The cost gets higher for these campaigns when nonprofits try to “convert” these donors into monthly (regular) donors or repeat donors. Results are mixed at best and require more money and human resources.

Major giving also has a fundcatching, reactive aspect to it. We all know stories of the until that moment, an unknown donor calls to make a significant, unexpected gift – anonymously or not. Those gifts can make, break or exceed any fundraising forecast. A reminder – it is reactive fundraising. We can’t count on the generosity of someone we don’t know to reach our fundraising goals. And I won’t talk about bequests here.

There are also many major gift donors who renew their gift annually – without any prompting. Yes, this too is fortunate fundcatching. What difference would it make if even 10-30% of those donors were proactively approached and ASKED to INCREASE their annual gift? What difference would that make to fundraising goals and ultimate the ability of a nonprofit organization to deliver on its’ mission? That would be fundraising.

So what does a proactive, fundraising strategy look like? Here are my suggestions:

  1. Serious, consistent, accountable, major gift portfolio management
    • Using a CRM program tracking moves management as the science it is
    • Meetings with donors to understand their values and interests – this is the art of fundraising
  2. Review of individual fundraising goals and organization budgets regularly
    • Regular 1×1 with fundraising staff to review the above, empower success and provide support as needed/requested
    • Fundraising team meetings to review above
  3. Donor centric engagement – based on the donors interests within the priorities of the organization
    • It’s not what you’re selling, it’s what I’m buying.
    • Engaging non-fundraisers (program, clinicians, leadership) who are “spending” philanthropic investments
  4. Regular and ongoing prospecting and research
    • This is an investment of time, money and human resources whose value cannot be underestimated to a proactive fundraising strategy
  5. A board who is leading by giving and asking others to join them
    • Set those expectations during recruitment and it will pay off immediately and over time

As always, thanks for reading and subscribing. Your thoughts are always welcome.


Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , , , .

Pearl Harbor – 1941 to 2018 Relationship Fundraising

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