Be Sure You Have the Right Fundraising Strategy
Two of the Houghton Mifflin American Heritage Dictionary definitions of strategy refer to the military. Both speak to marshaling resources — one notes "all the forces of a nation" and the other "large-scale combat operations."
Fundraising is not a battle or a war. But when the wrong strategy is devised or the right strategy is improperly executed, it can seem like a war and there are often casualties — volunteers, donors and staff — as the result.
The right strategy in fundraising implies:
- The right research to discern your circumstances
- The right plan that outlines your next steps: What are they; who should take them; and why, when and how should they be taken?
A few weeks ago I had the right strategy to follow up with a prospective client. But I have to confess — in a busy week focused on meeting current client demands, I did not follow through. What could have been a sure opportunity was lost.
Sometimes the right strategy calls on moving fast. That is what I lost. Sometimes it calls on patience — being sure that the right people are connected with, cultivated and ready.
It always requires urgency. Sometimes it reflects the urgency of a duck moving across the water: calm on top but peddling fast unseen under water. Sometimes it calls for urgency that everyone sees and recognizes.
Be sure that you have the right fundraising strategy. And that you are marshaling all of your resources to implement it with great urgency, whether it is seen by most observers or not.
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.