8 Fundraising Lessons From the Primary Election Season
Wow. We have never seen an election cycle like this one. To some it is edifying, and to others it is quite scary. No matter what your political persuasion, here are eight fundraising lessons we can take away from this primary season:
- Craft a plan. A good fundraising plan sets the sights higher, but also takes into consideration weaknesses to address, strengths to highlight and challenges you may encounter. Be sure you have a formal plan.
- Stay the course. Don’t jump and respond to the whims of pontificators who don’t know fundraising. Our profession is one that nearly everyone—from volunteers to a CEO with no fundraising experience—fashions themselves as an expert at.
- Communicate key themes. Know your key messages. Share them. Repeat. And share them again. Test them to be sure that they resonate with your donors and prospective donors.
- Don’t be afraid to be bold. Sometimes you will have to rise far beyond expectations—what people think your organization (or you) can achieve. Be appropriate, and when the time calls for it, be bold!
- Build your base first. Be sure that your current supporters are strong, are committed and will stay with you. Then, work to build beyond that base.
- Show character under pressure. Every fundraising effort, every nonprofit will at times feel the heat of pressure. How we behave under pressure reveals our true character.
- Momentum is important. People want to be a part of a winning cause. Pride by association. Be strategic to develop momentum and demonstrate your success.
- Be grateful. Thank your donors, staff and volunteers. Thank those who took time to listen to your message but did not respond.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.