Improve Your Fundraising With These ‘P-Lettered’ Concepts
I enjoy teaches classes depending on the size of the class. I recently spoke to a group of over 30 students, was a guest lecturer to a group of six students and will teach a class at Olivet Nazarene University next month to an average class size of 15. In between these assignments, I have been asked to be a luncheon speaker for several events (e.g. Association of Fundraising Professionals’ lunch, which could be at least 50 people or more). I try to enhance my presentations with stories and thoughts that my listeners can relate to easily. I always suggest for fundraising professionals to remember letters for word association clusters that are important to your knowledge base. Why use a letter to learn?
According to the American Psychological Association, psychologists are finding strategies to enhance your memory. I like to use mnemonic devices, which are “techniques a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something… It is a memory technique to help your brain better encode and recall important information.” In my case, it is using a letter to help you recall many items around the use of a letter.
Some of these techniques include:
- Take mental snapshots. Good memory is good learning. That means form a strong association with new information as you learn it. Systematically take note of things.
- Train your brain to remember. Use “mnemonic devices” that link new information with familiar information. To remember a name of something, write down letters and fill in more and more of the word until your recall kicks in. You are training new areas of the brain to take over faulty areas of the brain.
- Take advantage of technology. A paging system, for example, can help people remember appointments or other important dates.
- Keep your spirits up. Exercise and mentally stimulating activities can help.
The knowledge of letter association can help you learn. I recalled a former college marketing professor who said the concept of marketing is based upon the four P’s, which are product, price, promotion and place. In my word association of fundraising concepts, I attempted to study a variety of letter combinations that could help me retain common fundraising concepts.
In my research, the greatest number of concepts were those that related to the letter P. Let’s review several of these P’s and see if you agree with me that this letter (and related concepts) play a daily role in our quest to generate greater time, talent and treasure for our organization.
Purpose: What is the purpose of your organization? Why does it exist, and why is it worthy of donor investment?
Priorities: What are your priorities for fundraising that are included in your case for support for donors to evaluate? These continue to change and evolve based upon organizational need and strategy.
Prospects: Who are your prospects from a pool individuals, corporations, foundations, associations and organizations?
Process: What is your total process for securing funds? Do you have a strategic and operational plan that needs to scrutiny of prospect questions?
Promotion: How you do promote your organization and needs for an ask?
Preparation: What steps do you constantly take to prepare your administration, staff, volunteers, board and others for fundraising?
Programs: What previous, present and future programs are exciting, impactful and relevant both in terms of quantity and quality of impact?
People: Each fiscal year, people come and go in your orbit of the nonprofit universe. Do you adjust well to these comings and goings?
Planning: Many organizations either do not have a plan to raise funds or have an incomplete plan. Does your organization have a plan that stands the test of time?
Policies: Do you have a variety of policies, such as gift acceptance, recognition and data use?
Procedures: How do you identify, recruit and orient volunteers, for example? Do you have some type of procedure manual?
Passion: Do you show passion for the cause and train your staff to do the same?
Party: Do you celebrate successes with those around you and your organization?
Profit: Does your organization show a net profit each year and if not, what steps are being taken to improve your bottom line?
Partners: Are you actively searching for community partners who can collective serve greater numbers of people in joint fashion?
The list of P’s can go on and on.
To be the best professional you can be, always strive to improve your memory and acquire new learning concepts. I have found that letter association helps me create lists around concepts. Whatever letter you use, letter association should help you in your quest to cluster concepts. As nonprofit pros, it is our job to communicate and educate a variety of constituencies daily on a variety of topics. Seek ways for others to easily understand your concepts and meaning.
At the end of the day, based upon the letter P, our primary purpose is to provide greater profits, so programs can serve greater populations of people.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.