Does Your Fundraising Program Need a Personal Trainer?
You’re not sure what to do next
Sometimes being in fundraising is overwhelming. Direct mail, e-newsletters, events, planned giving, direct-response TV, banner ads, print ads, websites — these are just a few of the options we have for investing our fundraising budget. Every day, we can find new products we could be exploring, analytics showing that combining X and Y can improve our results, and case studies suggesting every nonprofit should be doing Z.
Few fundraisers work in a world of unlimited budgets. When we test something new, we probably have to sacrifice something else. Your “personal trainer” can help you maximize the investment, define your next strategy and identify best practices.
Begin by looking for assistance from someone who isn’t just selling a product; you first need a fresh look at your entire program to find the gaps where there is potential for improvement. Only then should you look for consultants and companies to help you address specific needs, making sure the solution enhances what you are already doing.
You’re hesitant to try something new in case it doesn’t work
Some nonprofits are risk-adverse. And some fundraisers are risk-adverse, probably because of being knocked down by risk-adverse employers who expect a home run every time you step into the batter’s box.
A good fundraising personal trainer can help you evaluate the risks of new programs and get past the initial love affair to see the pros and the cons. He or she can help you build a solid business case and set expectations. And, you’ll have someone to guide you as you extract learnings and build a more robust program for the future based on today’s results.
Consider hiring a consultant if you find yourself in one or more of these situations. Go into the relationship with a clear goal, and see if you can’t get motivated and see better results today and tomorrow because of partnering with your personal trainer.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.