Advice For All You Muggle Fundraisers from Professor Albus Dumbledore
For some, this is a long-anticipated week. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," the final movie in the Harry Potter series is being released today.
For others, this is still a long-anticipated week — because the hype about the Harry Potter movies may finally come to an end.
Whether you're a fan or ready to grab a wand, learn a spell and make the whole Harry Potter craze disappear, here is fundraising wisdom from the mouth of Prof. Albus Dumbledore, perhaps the greatest wizard who ever lived in the imaginary world of Harry Potter.
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone")
Sometimes our best donors can be our worst enemies, asking us to "do this" in exchange for their donation. Occasionally, their request will cause us to stray from our mission or do something that isn't in the best interest of the recipients of our programming.
It's hard to look a major donor in the eye and say, "No." But sometimes, we have to. Try for a compromise first, and explain why what he or she is asking isn't the best option. As a last recourse, you may have to turn down a donation. It hurts — but if you believe in the work your nonprofit is doing, you have to protect that work and not let it be dictated by a grant or donation.
Curiosity is not a sin. . . . but we should exercise caution with our curiosity ("Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire")
A good reminder from the professor to always test. What will happen if we add a brochure to our annual membership-renewal package? Test it. Can we e-mail our deeply lapsed donors at break-even or better? Test.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.