Principles of Fundraising, IMHO (Part 3)
For the last two weeks, I have been writing about the principles of fundraising that I give to my students in their last class. These are the "big ideas" I have learned over my career. To recap, the first eight are:
- Principle 1: You are NOT the target audience. So figure out who is.
- Principle 2: You have to spend money to raise money.
- Principle 3: You have to ask to receive.
- Principle 4: Use multiple fundraising tools for balance.
- Principle 5: Good programs need good fundraising. Good fundraising needs good programs.
- Principle 6: Don't mix your messages. When asking for a gift, leave it at that.
- Principle 7: Ask your donors for three things throughout the year: A gift. Referrals. A bequest.
- Principle 8: A nonprofit is not a business. But if you don't run it like a business, you will go out of business.
Until earlier this week, I only had three more principles, but being a person who likes symmetry in life, I gave some thought to what my 12th principle might be. And while attending the AFP 2013 International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego earlier this week, I had an epiphany. So, here are my now final four principles of fundraising. (Check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)
Principle 9: If you don't invest in acquiring new donors, you will run out of donors.
Attrition is a fact of life. Figure out how to minimize it and offset the loss. This has definitely been the topic de jour in recent days. You may be tired of hearing it. But it's a fact that gets proven over and over, and yet some fundraisers are still standing with their fingers in their ears, whistling and pretending that they have somehow received a vaccination against donor attrition.