Invest in Fundraising to Reap Returns
Nearly 20 years ago I had the privilege of working with leaders in a community to bring a long-envisioned dream to reality.
We actually inherited a campaign that had not been built on proper steps and strategy, and we had to retool. I've found it is much more difficult to fix a campaign than to implement one correctly. Back then, some leaders realized that they needed some expertise and a different perspective. They were incredible — the leadership for success was right there all along. They just needed the right guidance.
This week I had the privilege of visiting with many of the leaders with whom I had worked. It pained me as nearly every one of them shared about and expressed frustration over another campaign that also should have been signature to the community but was still languishing after nearly three years.
As I learned more, I found it was an effort that with the right research, strategy and execution should have hit goal years ago. Now, even the leaders on the project are exasperated. But three years ago they did not understand that in a fundraising campaign you had to make a commitment of resources (time and money) in order to be successful. Investing the resources to properly embark on a fundraising program yields great results.
John D. Rockefeller said to look at philanthropy as you would a high-grade investment, and a business would not embark to raise capital without a proper prospectus, advisors, research, plan and execution.
As nonprofit leaders — staff and volunteers — we do our organizations and our sector a disservice by taking a less-than-professional approach to fundraising. This includes having a sufficient commitment of resources — internal and external as needed — to be successful. By making this commitment, you honor the donor relationships that you seek to build and enhance, and demonstrate that your cause and good works are worthy of a high-grade investment.
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.