What to Be Obsessive About
Working for a nonprofit is almost a guaranteed way to never have enough time. But staying on schedule with fundraising projects is critical to your organization's success — and therefore, your success as an employee. Find that schedule you created, blow off the dust and then get back on track. The end result — income — will be a reward for your slavish devotion to the plan.
Stay on message
Sometimes it's tempting to build a fundraising project around something that seems far more sexy and interesting than the same-old, same-old your nonprofit usually does. Expanding your services is not a bad thing (and boring your donors to death is not recommended), but don't confuse your donors by straying too far from what they expect of you.
If you introduce a new program that is a bit of a stretch, take the time to bring your donors up to speed through articles in your newsletter and e-news and updates on your website. Then, when you send them a direct-mail or e-appeal, they will be more likely to respond because they will equate that work with what you — their favorite nonprofit — does.
While it's exciting to do something new and different, donors may have more trouble keeping up with your changes. So smooth the path before them, and invite them to come along with you. Meanwhile, keep assuring them that you are still doing the work they love — and have supported for years. Jarring changes can be hazardous to your fundraising success.
Fixate on donor service
In January, I received several receipts for year-end gifts; one barely arrived before the end of the month. I understand that year-end giving (usually) exceeds other months, but that's not an excuse for taking four weeks to receipt a donation. Knowing our giving patterns means we have time to prepare by bringing in additional staff or volunteers, cross-training current employees to help out with the deluge of year-end gifts, and budgeting for overtime as necessary.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.