8 Great Fundraising Habits
It is like those manners your parents taught you. They are standards for life. They are the right things to do — in how you interact with people — and frankly, from my experience, they just make life more enjoyable.
I'm talking about good fundraising habits. The fundamentals.
- Develop meaningful relationships with donors. Get to know your donors — each is different. Help to meet their needs and interests.
- Say "thank you" more than "please." Be sure that your next request is a welcome one!
- Treat every donor and prospective donor with respect. We can get caught up in reaching our goals, but at every level you must treat donors with respect — in how you discuss them, maintain information on them, etc., treat them with the utmost respect. Treat them like you would like to be treated.
- Begin with the family — and then leadership. With every campaign, every appeal, be sure that your family is on board and setting the pace. That means board and staff giving, and advisory groups. And within those, it means starting with the leadership.
- Be transparent. Don't mislead donors. Give them the honest and accurate information they deserve in appeals and in response to any inquiries.
- Be timely. Respond to your donors with urgency — from a thank-you note or call to how you process a gift. And with how you provide updates on the impact of their philanthropy.
- Deliver on your promises. If you promise that a gift will have a certain impact or will be used in a certain area, be sure this happens. Honor your commitments. If circumstances have changed, let your donors know (see No. 6)!
- Be sequential. Approach those with greatest capacity first and work your way through the giving pyramid. Campaigns are not usually won with small gifts.
Good habits are developed over time. By practice. By repetition. Build the strength of your fundraising program through good fundraising habits. I've shared these eight — what great fundraising habits do you practice?
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.