The Not-So-Secrets of Communicating for Fundraising Success
Communicating effectively with your donors and would-be investors is the first step in achieving fundraising success. I take success to mean ongoing gifts and investments in your cause at levels that rise over time.
We could talk a lot about saying “thank you” and being appreciative to those who invest in you—and this is certainly a good thing. This isn’t what I’m focusing upon today, however.
I’m talking about communicating with your supporters in ways that attract their attention, give them confidence that you’re really doing something worthwhile.
Confidence in you and your effectiveness is the rock-solid foundation of any fundraising effort that delivers.
Principle 4 of The Eight Principles™ is “Learn & Plan™.” That’s learn who would naturally support you, then plan how to reach them.
Take the time and create a fundraising plan. A real one. Not just “raise money.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? How often have your heard, “We don’t have the time for a plan. Our need is too urgent. Just go out and get it.” Or, "A plan? That costs too much.”
Let me be clear. You pay for a fundraising plan, whether you have one or not.
Did everyone get that? Everyone pays. It’s just a matter as to whether you get anything in return for what you spend. You’re “spending” money whether or not you see it go out the door. Often the most expensive “spending” is foregoing what could be coming in.
Once you have a plan—one that includes a communications component—you can move to create an underlying and ongoing narrative that reinforces the success you’re having in accomplishing your purpose. That should be read as “your purpose as understood through the eyes of your current and potential supporters.”
Funny how the nonprofits that do this well also make fundraising the norm for every level of the organization. It’s a part of their ethos. It’s integrated into the essence of their existence. When fundraising is seen as something separate or “over there” simply for the generation of money, such an attitude automatically makes you less appealing in the eyes of those who would support you.
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? I can assure you it is not.
The third essential in communication that rocks is engendering trust in the minds of your supporters. Trust in what you do, but, more importantly, trust in who you are.
Your team members, volunteers and board members all must behave as if they own at least 51 percent of the stock in the organization. Think how someone will act when they’re vested in an organization in such a way that the organization’s success or failure will have a material impact upon their well-being?
The trust that puts you over the top is the trust your donors have in you. Donors trust you with something far more valuable to them than their money.
Fundraising isn’t about money. It’s about visions, values, aspirations. Your donors’, that is.
The trust you want to engender in your supporters is the assurance you will represent their interests in their absences. When you understand and appreciate what they want and why, and are faithful to these desires, that’s when you’re fundraising moves into overdrive.
So, it’s no secret. Having a real fundraising plan, making fundraising an integral part of everything you do, and engendering the trust of your donors and would-be supporters is an unbeatable combination for success.
Success is waiting. Go out and achieve 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.
Reach Larry on social media at: