Five Fundraising Approaches That Won’t Frighten Your Board
25 June 2013 at 11:03 am
In response to a recent report which found that fundraisers are frustrated by how little their boards understand about fundraising and the lack of resources they are given to do their job, Not for Profit consultant Ruth Knight offers five fundraising approaches that won’t frighten the Board.
The report “Who’s asking for what? Fundraising and leadership in Australian non-profits” revealed that many fundraisers feel a heavy responsibility to raise much needed funds, but often feel overstretched and under-resourced. The consequences are that fundraisers are feeling unappreciated and the turnover in fundraising positions is high.
I suspect that this situation occurs because most board members have fears and anxieties about fundraising. They often do not have any experience of fundraising so would rather leave it up to someone else to ask for money. This results in frustrated and tired fundraisers.
If you’re in this situation, then it is likely that your board doesn’t grasp that raising funds is a team effort and everyone in the organisation has a role to play. Fundraising isn’t just about asking for money – it is far more important to focus on building and maintaining relationships with donors and funders so they feel compelled to give to an organisation they know and respect.
Therefore, I propose that instead of using the word ‘fundraising’ with your board, a better way to engage them is to use the word “partnerships”. That’s because giving is driven by relationship,s so fostering partnerships increases your capacity to achieve your fundraising goals.
Here are five ways to develop partnerships:
1. Educate the entire organisation about what role they play in developing and maintaining relationships with supporters.
2. Ask your donors what they want and need to know from you. Then provide it to them via video, photos, email or letter.
3. Tell more stories that demonstrate the impact of your organisation’s work.
4. Let prospective donors know the unique benefits they get from supporting you.
5. Develop strategies that encourage donors and supporters to tell their friends about your work.
These approaches don’t involve asking for money – yet they will build rapport, trust and respect between your organisation and donors. Positive relationships and strong connections make the job of asking for a donation or gift so much easier and achievable.
About the author
Ruth Knight is a trainer, consultant and business advisor. She is founder and director of The Pillars of Best Practice, an online coaching program for Not for Profit organisations and leaders.