Pssst … Don’t Tell the Big Guys
I have a secret. No, not “The Secret” — Oprah’s recent favorite book. This is a secret that I only want to share with smaller nonprofit organizations. So keep it to yourselves; we don’t want the big guys to know we’re on to them.
The secret is that nonprofits of all sizes can conduct their fundraising programs in the very same way as the biggest and most successful organizations in the world. To be clear, we’re talking about the way you conduct your program; raising the same amounts of money as the larger organizations is something I can’t promise.
But taking cues from how they operate will translate to increased success for your organization. So think of a large nonprofit that you respect and whose fundraising program you would like to emulate: American Cancer Society? American Diabetes Association? Or how about the Red Cross?
Got one in mind? Good. Here’s how your organization can raise funds in the same way.
A nonprofit organization will be fundraising as long as it is in existence. It’s for just this reason that large nonprofits think, strategize and plan all aspects of their fundraising activities with a “big picture” view.
Fundraising is seen as an investment, with almost equal focus on the future as there is on the present. All areas of the organization play specific roles in the fundraising plan. From the board down to the volunteer corps, the more departments that think and function in synergy, the more successful the fundraising program will be.
How you can do it:
• Internally, all departments should understand the role they play in fundraising. Boards need to understand that fundraising is an investment. Program staff should be alert for compelling examples of the work they’re doing that might be featured in a specific appeal. Development folks then have the ammunition to provide compelling information to develop a budget and an effective campaign.