Strength Training for Fundraisers
This list came about when a U.S. journal for fundraisers asked me to imagine I'd just started in a new job, with a clean slate and sufficient resources to set about transforming the donor-development function. It's included here to help anyone in an even vaguely similar situation. And to help me set out my philosophy of donor development.
These 12 strategies aren't the only things I'd do. They may not even be the most urgent things I'd do, or even the most important. But they are the things I'd do that I think would have the most lasting impact. They would make the most difference to converting my imaginary donor-development department from the under-funded, misunderstood appendage to the fundraising function that I found on joining the organization into the finely honed, high- earning core activity that I'd like to leave behind when, in the fullness of time, I move on to pastures new (you have to indulge me a little here, in this fantasy). Anyway, here we go.
1. I'd aspire to be the most learned fundraiser of my generation
Apart from studying the lessons of history and going to the best seminars and workshops, for the fundraising resource center that I'd set about creating I'd (at the very least) get hold of the 10 best books on fundraising — and make sure they don't gather dust on the resource center's shelves but really get used. Plus I'd subscribe to the best trade magazines and journals around. And I'd encourage my colleagues to set aside half an hour each day for "essential fundraising reading" (in their own time, preferably). I'd challenge them to try to get at least one new idea from this every day that will help keep us just a bit ahead of everyone else who's clamoring for our donors' funds. And once each month at least, I'd encourage them to visit a fundraising organization with which they've had no prior contact whatsoever. Or to call a fundraiser for advice, someone they've never spoken to before. I'd also suggest, each day, that they wave at someone they don't know. But that may be going too far.