Fundraising Wisdom From a 25-Year Pro: Connie Sanderson, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children
We can never thank our donors enough for believing in our mission and supporting it. Always thank major donors in person. Yes, everyone gets the letter, but an in-person thank-you, with no ask involved, is the surest way to get another major gift down the road.
Match individual donors’ needs with your organization’s needs
Donors want to feel like they are partners in furthering the mission of a charity they support. For an initiative to be successful, it must first ask and answer the questions, “Will this initiative resonate with and inspire donors?” “Will it forge a bond between their ideals and the organization’s mission?” Gimmicks and glitz don’t work, ultimately, because they are fleeting, and donors are looking for more substance, more heart. Successful initiatives hear what donors care about and respond. Create this backdrop, and you will have a successful fundraising initiative because donors will feel respected, considered and inspired to join with you.
Invest in the right staff
Developing real, lasting partnerships with donors can take years. That’s why continuity and consistency of the development staff are essential keys to success. Frequent staff turnover in the department can make it difficult to forge the kinds of foundations and relationships necessary for successful planned-giving initiatives, for example.
Take the time to hire the right people who take the organization’s mission to heart. At Kurn Hattin, people are not just doing a job; they are called to the mission to help children in need. Once a person becomes employed, there is such deep satisfaction in going to work, knowing that whatever job that person is doing, it betters the life of boys and girls in our care. Securing the funds needed to sustain this charitable organization is deeply satisfying on yet another level, creating bonds with donors who also want to help children and giving donors the knowledge and tools to do so.