Interview With Kenneth Grunke, Director of Individual and Major Giving, Pillars
The other part of this is that our society has become very globalized, and that is also affecting our fundraising strategies. Donors, who were once committed to supporting our programs and services locally, now want their dollars to make an impact on a much more macro level. Specifically, we see this with the younger generation, where a lot of these global charities are becoming more effective with their internet outreach strategies.”
FS: How would you describe your fundraising philosophy?
KG: “We’ve adopted more of a ‘donor-centered’ fundraising approach. From cultivation to solicitation to stewardship, we look at each donor as unique in his or her relationship with our organization. Although that may seem overwhelming and impossible to many, given the large number of donors that we reach out to each year, our strategies become as detailed as possible to appropriately recognize each donor for their contributions. Nobody wants to be — [or] should be — a number, and when you are talking about an increase in the number of charities vying for the same donors’ support, you can’t afford not to integrate this in your work plan, within reason of course.”
FS: How do you reach out to supporters and potential supporters in ways other than purely fundraising?
KG: “We actually have started an annual Thank-A-Thon, which, so far, has proven to be very successful. If anyone hasn’t considered this yet, my suggestion would be to somehow work it into your annual plan. This activity is a great opportunity to not only show how much the donors’ support matters, but also gives them an opportunity to provide any feedback about your annual strategies, update their records or provide some great historical information that could strengthen the organization’s relationship with them. You can also add a short survey component to the call and start working on your performance outcomes measurements. This is also a great way to get your board and other volunteers involved, since it doesn’t require asking for money. Most importantly, the goal of this activity is not to thank as many donors as you can, but to pay attention to the quality of the phone call — that’s what really makes the difference.”