How to Fulfill Your Fundraising Dreams

Do you need your board members more engaged in fundraising? Is your fundraising staff meeting your overall financial goals? Do you dream of your community readily supporting your cause?

It’s what I dreamed of as an executive director. I remember being told at my first board meeting, “We are not a fundraising board.” And the agency was not meeting its financial goals. And we were losing donors. Sound familiar?

But I overcame it. And you can too. I tell you how in my new book The Sustainable High ROI Fundraising System to be released in March.

As a sneak peak, I share the secrets of my success in today’s excerpts from my book.

Motivate Your Board to Fundraise

“Your board is the most valuable leadership asset your nonprofit has. Board members teach the community how to interact with your agency. The board is where an infectious fundraising culture starts…Prepare your board to fundraise by properly recruiting members, focusing them on strategy, and engaging them in creating life-changing transformations…Help your board members lead by example. Share board giving inquiries that come from other donors with your board…Don’t focus on the money you are trying to raise. Instead, focus on the progress in mission fulfillment the organization has achieved through added financial support.”

Set Your Staff Up for Success

“To mobilize your staff to achieve fundraising success, you create an environment conducive to fundraising and give your staff the tools necessary to meet the financial and mission goals you and the board have identified as priorities… Set your fundraising staff up for success. Give them clear direction by setting SMART goals. Create both donation and donor goals. Fundraisers…will strive to meet their goals, If you use SMART goals, it will also be easier for you to evaluate fundraising performance…Be realistic when communicating and budgeting your revenue objectives. Don’t motivate your fundraising staff to leave by creating impossible goals. You don’t want the revolving door we talk about in Chapter Eight…So that your nonprofit realizes a surplus, focus on net, not gross, income…Include total, not just indirect costs, in your calculations so that you can compare the returns on investment for the different fundraising activities. By focusing on those fundraising elements with the highest financial return, you will expend the least amount of resources to achieve your goals, reducing your overall fundraising costs. Remember your revenue mix, though. It’s not all about return on investment. The purpose of fundraising activities includes more than financial goals. Mission promotion and relationship building are also important considerations…And let your development staff operate in the big picture. Fundraising touches many organizational units, including program, finance, planning, marketing, communications, IT, and board relations. They will need to interact with many people to build a sustainable fundraising action plan that addresses total fundraising operations.”

Target Specific Donor Groups

“Target the donors who will be most passionate about your mission and have the means to support it. And by target, I mean to define your donor groups as precisely as you can in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, education, income, likes, and preferences. The more narrowly defined your target group, the more likely you will realize success.

Why target smaller, distinct groups instead of going after everyone? Say you want to fish for flounder. You could go out with a boat, cast a wide net, and get a lot of fish, a few of which are flounder. Or, you could go where flounders tend to congregate, cast a small net, get fewer fish but a lot of which are flounder. In the first scenario, you expend a lot of resources to get a few of what you want. In the second, you don’t end up with as many individual fish, but you get a whole lot more of what you want…For a higher return on investment, expend resources not to reach everyone but to reach those who have a propensity for your mission.”

Communicate a Strong Brand

“Your nonprofit’s brand, roughly speaking, is its reputation for how well it lives up to its promises. A strong brand means your nonprofit is widely known to make a positive impact on the issues it tackles. In other words, your agency demonstrates a strong commitment to its mission.”

“Your nonprofit’s brand is conveyed through every symbol, word, and action associated with the organization. That includes internal and external communications and materials. You want your internal people all to be on the same page to impart the same distinctive message to the public. And you want to share a singular, powerful message to your external audiences so they know exactly who your nonprofit is and there is no confusion over what it stands for. That means your logo, font, website, photography, public speeches, social media posts, brochures, reports, volunteer trainings, employee manuals—everything you do and say—is planned, coordinated, and embedded with the same language, concepts, and symbols. It also means choosing and designing fundraising activities that promote the message you are trying to communicate. All these components combined make a strong brand.”

Next Steps

Of course, my book gives you much more information about how can apply these four keys to your fundraising.  You can find out more about The Sustainable High ROI Fundraising System and be the first to get your copy by clicking here.

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