Archive for February 1st, 2013

February 1, 2013

Want to Know the Secret to Raising More Money in 2013?

Everyone wants to find the latest, greatest way to raise money. Everyone wants to raise more money. Fortunately, the secret way to raising more funds in 2013 is not complicated. It’s not expensive. It’s not revolutionary. It’s not even really a secret. But, it will work:

Get out from behind your desk more often.

I know you’re thinking, “That’s just common sense.” You’re right. However, at many nonprofit organizations, it’s not common practice. Consider this true story from my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing:

During a seminar at an Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter conference, the director of development for a regional theater company asked a question: ‘Could I have some of our repertory actors cultivate our major donors?’

“The presenter initially thought this was a terrific idea. Theater donors often like to think of themselves as true patrons of the arts. The opportunity to interact with the actual performers would be meaningful to many of the theater’s major donors. The presenter mentioned this and asked, ‘How many major donor prospects do you have?’

“The answer was 50. The presenter then suggested that the director of development schedule appointments with the major donors and plan on bringing one of the actors with her. At this suggestion, the director of development exclaimed, ‘I don’t have time for that! I was hoping that the actors could go out on their own.’

“The presenter patiently responded, ‘If you visit with only two major donors per week, you will have seen them all within six months. And, not only will they have been cultivated by having the chance to interact with one of the actors, you will have developed a relationship and, in the process, learned more about the donor’s interests and philanthropic abilities. You will be well positioned to renew and upgrade their current support while being able to begin a conversation about planned giving. What could possibly be a better use of time?’

“While the development director was not pleased with the response, the reality is that the most effective fundraising happens at a coffee table not at a desk. Being proactive and actually talking with donors and prospects, understanding their needs, cultivating them, and asking for the gift is always the most effective development strategy.”

I understand that it’s not always easy to schedule another conversation with a donor or prospect. There are meetings to attend, reports to write, vendors to meet with, staff members to supervise, budgets to review, etc.

However, if you really want to raise more money, you will find a way to meet with more donors and prospective donors.

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