You Asked—Fundraising Questions Answered, Part Three
What are the best strategies and practices for those of us with a very small communications and development staff? I hear you. I have been a team more than once in my career. Way back then, I read an article by Jerry Huntsinger that I tore out and referred to again and again. A version of it is available here. His first point is that small organizations "follow the basic fundraising principles that apply to any marketing situation, large or small." One point that was edited out of this version, but I think is key, is this: "The successful small organization utilizes every technique available to the large organization and the head man (or woman), instead of saying, 'That stuff won't work for us,' says 'Let's make it work for us because we don't have any other choice!'" And if you're in a position of doing it all (or most of it) in fundraising, take every opportunity to try something new and learn another skill; your value as a fundraiser will increase as you expand your abilities and do more than you ever imagined you would. Some of my best career experiences came from saying, "Sure, I can do that!" and then desperately researching how on earth it was done.
There really aren't easy answers to these questions, and it bears repeating: I'm sure if you asked these same questions to 10 other fundraisers, you'd get 10 different sets of answers. But this old dog has learned to celebrate every victory, large or small, even if it seems to go unnoticed by everyone else in the organization. Fundraising is hard work, sometimes disappointing work—but always work that can make a difference. Keep at it!
Do you have other questions you'd like answered in a future column? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise you a perfect answer, but I will give you the best answer I can based on my real life experience.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.