Your Fundraising Instincts Are (In)Correct
Ever notice how the training that’s offered to help you be a better fundraiser very often has a predictable pattern?
It’s the pattern I call “all the cool kids are doing it.” The French might call it the “topic de jour.” Most of the providers of fundraising training must be reading the same memo: “This month we’ll focus on...”
Last month, it was major giving. This month, monthly giving. And oh, don’t forget planned giving coming up next quarter. Digital. Direct mail. Peer-to-peer. Telling stories. That gala. The list goes on.
You need what will move your program forward. And before you get fundraising training in tools and techniques, you must have strategy and context. Unfortunately, what’s on offer usually has nothing to do with those things.
Why? Because cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all fundraising solutions are so much easier to sell—because there’s no thinking involved. Either by the seller or the buyer.
Then there’s impact. That’s what your organization is about, isn’t it? That’s why you get fundraising training isn’t it? Impact comes from achieving sustained revenue over time. That comes from fundraising training that’s focused on strategy. Not techniques, tactics or even tools.
Sure, tactics are important. After you’ve decided upon your strategy. Taking a tactic out of the context of a larger fundraising effort is like having a loose cannon volunteer. You never know what the outcome will be—no matter how well intentioned.
You don’t like having volunteers that can’t be guided or controlled. Don’t choose the tactic of the day and expect it to fit into your program, just like that.
Fundraising training that works for you will show you how to develop a strategy, which is effective for your organization. Once you’ve done that, selecting the right tactics and tools becomes simple. Clue: The ones you choose will most likely not be the ones currently being touted by all the cool kids.
The good news? By starting with strategy, your fundraising will become sustainable and will soar. That gives you impact. There’s that word again.
Principle 8 of The Eight Principles™ is Invest, Integrate & Evaluate. You must invest in your fundraising program. Money, people and time. You must integrate all your efforts with an overarching strategy. And you must continually evaluate those efforts to make course corrections.
Notice that there is nothing mentioned about “cool techniques,” delivering “bags of cash,” achieving “mega sponsorships” or any of the other hype that so many fundraising training consultants provide.
“OK, I get it,” you say. “I’ll swear off the latest quick trick.”
Thank goodness! Now you can focus on strategy. Seek out fundraising training that will give you the ability and confidence to strike out on your own. Remember you’re seeking impact! Impact comes from sustained revenue—at the lowest possible costs. Get fundraising training, which will give you the ability to put a program together that delivers for you.
Ultimately, your fundraising success is about you. It’s not the shiny thing. It’s about knowing who you are, the impact you want to achieve and the focus and drive to develop a strategy for your situation. This is why fundraising is not an “add on”; something that is done to “get money.” That never sustains you.
So don’t fall for the tips, techniques, tactics and “six things to know” approach. That’s where all the cool kids are. Where you do you want to be? Achieving impact. Changing the world. Seek fundraising training that delivers this.
To your fundraising success!
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.
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