Fundraising Success Depends on A, B, C
Yet another year is coming to a close, and for many nonprofits, it’s about time — 2011 hasn’t been an easy year, what with the continued economic malaise worldwide and increasing demands to expand the platforms we use to spread our messages. More options vie for nonprofits’ attention (and investment), adding to the stress of the fundraiser’s job.
Whatever 2012 holds, we all need to prioritize our efforts. That’s always the challenge for nonprofit fundraising: Our budgets are limited, and our supporters expect us to invest the majority of their donated money in programs.
Fundraisers that succeed in 2012 will remember A, B, C: alignment, balance and clarity.
Whatever channels you use, be sure they align with your audience. There’s no shame in not being everywhere on- and offline — as long as you are where your donors (and potential donors) are.
Working for a nonprofit is about compromise. Few can “do it all” and maintain an acceptable cost of fundraising. You’re wise to “hang out” where your audience is and leave the rest for others. You may not win an award for innovation, but you’re investing where you can have the most impact with limited dollars.
Give your donors variety in your communications. Everything you do shouldn’t say, “The sky is falling!” Of course, if it really is falling, you need to emphasize that, but we all get desensitized to even the worst possible news over time. (Case in point: When was the last time you really took airport screening seriously?)
Make sure your donors know that there is still a need, but you are slowly but surely chipping away at it. We’re all tired of “black holes,” and we don’t want to throw more money into them. Show the need, but in appropriate communications, demonstrate how you are having an impact.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.