Training for the Future of Fundraising
That's the starting point for your story. Share what you love about the work, and your own passion will compel others to listen, and that in turn will help you branch out to find more stories and make them "yours," too.
In the summer 2014 issue of Advancing Philanthropy, Mary Ellen Collins wrote this about crowdfunding — one of those 21st-century fundraising phenomena that many of us are still trying to get our arms around: "Basic fundraising principles don't go out the door. It's still all about having a compelling story ... "
So start working on your storytelling today — and you'll be relevant far into the future!
Interpret results and act accordingly
The day of going with your gut or expecting someone else to digest the numbers and tell you what they mean seems to be a distant memory for most of us. Downsizing has made more fundraisers "stand-alones," and analytics at the touch of a button on a device smaller than a single volume of the old encyclopedia has removed the shroud of mystery from the art of interpreting results.
Add to that tighter budgets, and we now have to be sure every dollar invested in fundraising yields donors, dollars or at least some actionable learnings. Most nonprofits can't afford too many failures, and eventually your career can suffer if you can't make decisions based on the facts instead of your feelings. The expectation is that fundraisers will test ideas — and then read the results of those tests and act accordingly.
Some of my very favorite fundraising ideas were disasters when it came to net results. And yes, letting go was hard to do. But fundraising is an investment, not a Disney song. Let it go!
Ouch! That seems to be the mantra in fundraising these days. The days of "just trust me" are gone. Funders want to see progress. Regulatory bodies want to see progress. Even fundraisers want to see progress since being able to point to results makes our jobs so much easier.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.