Strength Training for Fundraisers
There are six keys to doing that:
✔ Train frontline personnel.
✔ Involve donors strategically.
✔ Encourage feedback, comments, questions, even complaints.
✔ Undertake regular research. Listen particularly to donors and to former supporters.
✔ Regularly survey donor satisfaction. Monitor and report on key indices.
✔ Don't just listen — really hear what your donors tell you, and act upon what you learn.
9. I'd work on strategies that build our donors' trust and confidence in us and our organization
This means that in addition to producing the best, most involving, most welcome communications in all practical formats, I'd try to make our communications into models of good stewardship. I'd publish "the standards we set for ourselves" in our annual report. I'd offer donors a charter that sets out clearly our commitment to them, explaining how we propose to be excellent stewards of the funds they entrust to our care. I'd include volunteers and other key supporters and constituents in this too, as well as donors.
Transparent accountability isn't just a duty, it's an opportunity. Demonstrable good governance and open, proactive accountability will be hallmarks of the successful fundraising organization of the future. Increasingly, donors expect nonprofits to be fully accountable and will come to demand ever more evidence of efficient and effective governance. But it will pay if you don't wait for donors to ask. Demonstrate your good stewardship and commitment to full accountability at every opportunity. Invite and encourage comments and questions. That alone will reassure your donors.
Fundraisers have to champion accountability and take it to their donors. The media are always happy to exploit any hint of poor management or inefficiency from nonprofits, and the public is only too prepared to follow where journalists lead. Yet fundraisers usually have nothing to hide and lots to be proud of. Generally nonprofits do a lot better than the public thinks they do. We need to illustrate our effectiveness and efficiency clearly and to strongly champion them, rather than trying to keep our heads down and hoping questions will just go away. So I'd tell those in the development department to: