The 10 Commandments for Optimizing Fundraising Success, Part 1
[Editor's note: This is part 1 of a three-part series on the session, "The 10 Commandments: 10 Ageless, Irrefutable, Non-Negotiable Keys to Optimizing Your Fundraising Success," at the DMA Nonprofit Federation's 2011 New York Nonprofit Conference held last month.]
Nowadays, it's easy and very tempting to dive in to all the news technologies and techniques that pop up seemingly every day in the fundraising sector. As important as it is to keep up with advances and evolution in the industry, it's foolish for throw out the baby with the bathwater.
With that in mind, veteran fundraising consultant Tom Gaffny provided 10 timeless keys to fundraising success that he's crafted over the past two decades during his session, "The 10 Commandments: 10 Ageless, Irrefutable, Non-Negotiable Keys to Optimizing Your Fundraising Success," at the DMA Nonprofit Federation's 2011 New York Nonprofit Conference held last month.
Here are commandments 1-3
1. It's not about you
Gaffny called this the "most boring, depressing … and most important" commandment.
"There is not one person here who owns a donor base because the donor base doesn't belong to you … it belongs to the donor," he added.
In reality, you have little control over the fundraising dialogue. The only thing the fundraiser sending the appeal has control over is what she sends, when she sends it and through which channel she sends it. Meanwhile, the donor who receives the message controls whether to open it, when to open it, whether to read it, whether to respond to it, when to respond, how much to give and which channel to use.
Accepting that reality, Gaffny shared these three absolute truths about your fundraising appeals:
- 99.9 percent of your audience is not waiting by the door all day for your package to arrive.
- Unless you do something that interests donors, provokes them or connects with them, you've lost before you even started.
- Reread truths 1 and 2.
"People don't give to you because you have needs," Gaffny said. "They give to you because you meet needs, including theirs."