Fundraising With LEGOs
This approach to fundraising is akin to upending a box of LEGOs, spilling the contents onto a table and then one by one putting pieces together that "fit." The result — either a structure, which has strength and beauty, or a conglomeration of plastic blocks that is nothing less than an unholy mess. Unless you've thought through the big picture in advance, it's usually the latter.
I counseled Taylor to think of fundraising as a journey for donors rather than a set of semi-independent fundraising programs all with their own goals, objectives and methods — proverbial LEGO blocks.
Make no mistake, donors set both the direction and force of fundraising. No matter how good or effective your work in the community, it's really not about you or your programs. Principle 1 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Donors are the DriversTM. Donors drive philanthropy through their values and visions.
So, how does this high-minded concept work in the front-line world of fundraising? What's the nitty-gritty when generating sufficient revenue represents success or failure?
Instead of fitting donors to your programs, focus upon creating a seamless path for donors to grow in your organization. Identify and reinforce those donor values that support your efforts. Help your investors to give as it is appropriate for them. Encourage them to invest as it fits their particular situations in life — whether that's general cash giving, higher cash giving, gifts of assets ("major gifts"), planned gifts (simply "major gifts" that have an additional external donor motive along with a deferred payment schedule) or even through a capital campaign.
This paradigm sometimes goes under the name of "all source funding."
This may sound like a subtle — even a trifling — change. I can assure it is not. Thought through, such a change will infuse every fundraising effort, every donor communication, every press release, every telephone greeting to donors when they call. Think about it.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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