Advice From the Fundraising Sages
One of the things that has always impressed me about the fundraising profession is that people are so willing to share advice with others traveling along the same road. Whether in seminars, blogs, articles or just answering the phone when you call to ask a question, our industry has always been generous with assistance to those who are seeking it.
So to begin 2013, I asked four of my colleagues, all seasoned professionals with years of hands-on fundraising experience, to contribute one piece of advice for fundraising in this new year. Here’s what they told me.
Yes, you’re hearing voices …
“Take time to listen to the voices of your donors,” says Dana Heter, founder and president of DirectStrategies, a direct-response agency focused on strategy for fund development. "You do not have a homogeneous donor base. You have a compendium of donor bases — each with distinct profiles, interests, motivations for giving and desires for what they want out of the relationship.
“You need to communicate in ways that are perfectly tuned to who each donor is, what they believe individually and the sense of fulfillment each one receives when contributing to your organization. Going deeper into your data to truly hear what donors are saying is essential to succeed,” he adds.
No case = no support
Rick Felton, founder and president of Matthew Five Sixteen, focuses on major donors programs, and that means he’s also focusing on things like the fiscal cliff, IRS tax code changes and the stock market. He suggests that the first thing we need to do is “remind major donors — or at least remind ourselves — that their investments are in good shape. We are not back to the highs in the Dow in 2007, but we are well off the lows of 2009. In fact, at around 13,300, the Dow has more than doubled since the low.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.