Avoid These Fundraising Turkeys in 2013
In just a week, those of us in the U.S. will enjoy the annual ritual of the 3 F's: family, food and football. But for many of us, fundraising won't be far from our minds, either.
That's because Thanksgiving kicks off the critical year-end giving season. And then, 40 days later, it will be 2013. A fresh start (more or less) for our fundraising. For some, a new budget (depending on your fiscal year). And for donors, a new year to choose to support charities new and old.
As you finish up your work in 2012 and plan for the New Year, keep these turkeys in mind so they don't sneak into your fundraising program come Jan. 1.
Turkey No. 1: Well, I'm just saying that I don't like that…
Why is it that everyone who works for a nonprofit organization seems to have an opinion about fundraising - and no fear in expressing it? No one ever asked me how to dig a well in sub-Sahara Africa or how to do cost accounting (for good reason), but colleagues often shared how they thought copy should be written and photos presented
If you're experiencing this, you have to put a stop to it in 2013. This doesn't mean being rude or never again eating in the employee lunchroom. Instead, offer to make a presentation in a staff meeting about direct response and show examples of what is working right now. Encourage colleagues to bring in samples of mail they receive at home, or to forward you the e-mails they receive from other nonprofits.
You're not going to win them all over, but some colleagues will become another set of eyes, finding great fundraising examples you can learn from. For the others, just practice smiling slightly and saying, "Thanks for the idea. We're always testing to make sure we're effectively investing our fundraising dollars to raise the most money for our programs." And then walk away. Quickly.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.