Cover Story: Know Your Mission, Grow Your Mission
No matter what cause you raise money for, you know what the across-the-board challenges are. The economic downturn. More and more competition for donor dollars. Rising mail costs. The delicate balance between old and new strategies. Figuring out how much people power to devote to things that might raise some money in the future but aren't bringing in the bucks just yet. Finding, training and keeping good fundraisers. Etc., etc., etc.
But on top of all that, each charitable sector under the nonprofit umbrella has its own special challenges. Here, we talk with some fundraising professionals about their areas of expertise. For insights into other missions, go to fundraisingsuccessmag.com.
Faith-based organizations: Bridge the credibility gap
Far from running a bake sale or passing a basket at a church service, fundraising for faith-based organizations is a sophisticated, far-reaching facet of the charitable sector. Its appeal, so to speak, reaches beyond just supporting well-intentioned organizations. It speaks directly to donors' religion, spirituality, relationship with the Higher Power, and overall sense of connection and concern for their fellow man and the world around them.
J. Scott Faircloth, founder and principal of Virginia-based communications firm Allegiance Direct, warns that some of the country's largest and most well-known faith-based charities are going to be facing an aging donor base and have to focus intently on bringing in new donors.
"Without bringing in new supporters, it's going to be an uphill climb," he says. "With newer organizations, there is a large credibility gap. A group like Focus on the Family is always going to be able to raise money because of the great work it's done and the name recognition of [founder James] Dobson. However, if you have a new organization, while your group might be doing great work, you'll have to go above and beyond to prove it."