Our Overloaded 'Bag of Tricks'
Stay true to what works
Adding new ways to communicate with donors should not be a simple exchange. You know — "We want to do X, so we have to stop doing Y." By all means, stop "Y" if it's not working. But you're going to need a mix of fundraising techniques to communicate across the generations. E-mail and a great website are terrific, but if that's all you can offer, you are leaving behind a whole bunch of people who for whatever reason aren't reading your e-mail and won't give online. You're going to have to figure out what a donor's "love language" is and talk to him or her in that dialect, be it direct mail, e-mail, text or by phone.
When it comes to adding staff to strengthen your fundraising team, think about what skills are going to provide the most impact on your bottom line. If your donors are mostly older, a specialist in social media may not be your best investment, for example. Think about what talents you and your existing team (if you have one) have, and look for someone who brings different skills that match your needs.
Insist on experience
If you are a homeowner, you probably wouldn't tackle installing a new furnace and air conditioner, replacing your sewer line, or building an addition unless you had those specific skills. You'd want an expert. That's true with fundraising, too. It's our job to protect our mission and our donor's investment by bringing in partners who are truly qualified.
Few people can "do it all." I know, even after 35 years in this business, I can't — and I'll point you to someone who I consider a true expert if you were to ask for my help in some areas. (By the way, this isn't just "advice" from a consultant; I followed this for the nearly three decades I worked for small to midsized nonprofits. Money for consultants is hard to come by; invest it well!)
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.