Strength Training for Fundraisers
We'd aspire to ask fewer people for more money for better reasons. We'd set out to find the real donors, because we know real profit comes from real relationships with real donors.
5. I'd cut out all short-term thinking, including all hard-sell activities
Instead, we'd lay solid foundations for a secure and lasting future that's not driven by short-term targets or objectives. I'd start by searching out opportunities for mutual benefit. I'd lay down strategies to develop committed giving and bequest income. I'd banish all high-pressure activities and make sure that we don't sell to our donors but instead work with them and for them, as respected counselors and friends.
Fundraisers should put an end to the hard sell, lay foundations for the future, and invest in and plan for the long term. The long-term nature of most fundraising should be made clear to all fundraisers when they join.
6. I'd switch our organization's contact paradigm from 'marketing' to 'communication'
Donors don't like to be sold to. They never did. Effective communications, we are reliably informed by research, build trust and confidence among our donors. And trust and confidence are the foundations of good relationship development. I'd make communication with our donors a dialogue, not a monologue. I'd recruit genuine experts with track records in effective communication. Our story would get told. And how!
I'd foster the lost art of storytelling and practice "experience" fundraising. Fundraising isn't about asking for money. It's about inspiring people to believe that they can make a difference — then helping them to make it. Fundraising is the inspiration business, and however much we may try to elevate and complicate it, at its heart it is little more than telling stories. I'd encourage all my fellow fundraisers to become master storytellers.