Take-away: Don’t overlook introverts when hiring your next development director.
“You have the fundraising gene.”
I get that a lot from friends and acquaintances. What they mean is, “You’re extraverted, outgoing and not afraid to ask.”
I am an extravert, but my confidence and skill come from decades of professional experience. When I started my career, I was so scared I had to smoke a cigarette before I could summon up the courage to get on the phone to ask someone to volunteer. Not to give. Just to volunteer.
I know. Cigarettes in the office. This was decades ago.
More than 90% of respondents use the personal ask, more than any other tactic.
70% of those surveyed found personal solicitation was more effective than in the past.
Peer-to-peer campaigns were increasingly successful for 50% of these nonprofits.
87% still use, and 1/3 plan to increase their investment in, direct mail.
More than half expect to boost their use of social media.
Only 13% used mobile/text messaging as one of their fundraising channels.
Apparently, the more we communicate digitally, the more powerful live, in-person human contact becomes. Study participants found that employing a strategic mix of automated and in-person communication achieved optimal results.
Yet many nonprofits are mute, unable to speak in this multi-channel world.
Take-away: Do a self-scan before asking, and get happy so you show up anticipating a “Yes!” not bracing yourself for “No.”
You’re about to ask for a major gift. Your donor’s been thanked for their past giving and kept involved. You know about their family, their interests and their philanthropy. You have a project they’ll love at a cost they can afford. It’s time to ask, right?
Wrong. You’ve left the most important thing of all off your checklist.
Take-away: Ask those close to you before reaching out to big name funders with no connection.
You wouldn’t ask Bill Gates to cover your hospital bill…would you? If you needed financial help, you’d ask a family member or a close friend first. Charity begins at home. The same principle applies to fundraising. It’s the people around you, those already engaged or invested in your nonprofit who will give. Finding support for your organization should start from the center out, from those who know you best, to those who know you least.
Yet too often, we dream of a sugar daddy, a miraculous cure-all for our organization’s financial woes. “One big check from Bill Gates or Warren Buffet could solve all of our problems,” we muse. Volunteer board members see a name in the Wall Street Journal or on TV and think these celebrities are the answer to all of their nonprofit’s challenges.
Take-away: Be sure that you are registered to fundraise before you start!
In the last 24 hours, several folks have approached me who thought they could ask for money in Pennsylvania, but couldn’t. Why? They’re not registered with the PA Bureau of Charitable Organizations. How do I know? Because it’s public. Anyone, including donors and foundations, can look them up.