International Voices on Fundraising: How to be 15 Minutes Ahead
What follows is a short selection of ideas you can use to enable your nonprofit organisation to be just far enough ahead of all the others to ensure you have all the success you need.
Please note: This list is very far from definitive. Use it to stimulate thoughts and ideas and add your own ways to be “15 minutes ahead.” Look not for big ideas and major breakthroughs. Instead seek out the easy wins and incremental advances that can be found in abundance whatever your field or fields of endeavour. All of what follows will not be relevant for each organisation. Adapt these ideas to suit your own needs and circumstances. Good luck!
In understanding and listening to donors
* Meet your donors at every opportunity. Ask their opinions and listen to their advice. (Obvious, I know. But most don’t do it. Yet, it’s the best form of regular research. And it builds trust, confidence and loyalty. And it’s free!)
* Make yours a listening organisation (train yourself/colleagues in donor care; offer your donors a say in formulating your strategy; encourage feedback, comments, questions and complaints; regularly research your donors’ views and lapsed donors too; survey and measure donors’ satisfaction, keeping simple indices which in time will become key performance indicators, the regular data you use to monitor fundraising performance — you’ll be ahead in this, because most fundraisers only measure their performance in money received now).
* Set up an annual rolling research programme so you can monitor your donors’ attitudes over time. Improvements in donors’ understanding of and feelings for your nonprofit can be one of your KPIs.
* Get your thinking right (and encourage your colleagues, too). Work on attitudes as well as techniques. Make the 90-degree shift, to see everything you do through your donors’ eyes. This takes constant practice.