I love fundraising. People think I’m crazy for it. Most of my clients contact me because they know they need to beef up their fundraising program, but they either think they can’t do it themselves or they don’t want to do it themselves. If you fall into this category, I’m here to tell you… You absolutely CAN fundraise and will likely be surprised to find out that it’s quite fun.
If you are nervous or plain petrified of fundraising, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Fundraising is NOT about the money. WHAT? It’s true. Fundraising is about people connecting with other people because of a shared passion or interest. It’s about relationships. It’s about incredible people with the capacity to give (and true desire to give) meeting other incredible people who are working to make our community a better place. It’s about loving your mission.
It’s not about endless grant applications, planning tedious events, or begging your friends and colleagues for money. If this is what you are fearful of (and most people are) you can rest easy. Good fundraising is simply knowing how to share your amazing story with the right people.
2. The “Ask” is the easiest, last step. Fundraising isn’t about asking for money. If you are sharing your story and building relationships in an effective way, then when the time is right to ask for a gift, it will be comfortable and feel like the logical next step for both you and the potential donor. The vast amount of work that goes into fundraising happens before you actually make the ask. It happens during the research and relationship (or engagement) phase. Fundraising is not about cold calls to your network!
3. You DO know people with a capacity to give. I always tell my clients that if they ask their Board members or supporters if they know potential donors, the response will almost always be, “I don’t know anyone with that kind of money.” The truth is most communities have about .5 degree of separation. Meaning everyone is connected to multiple potential donors, you just aren’t aware of the connections. This is the key to fundraising. Knowing the simple systems and processes for uncovering your organization’s connections to different people.
4. Fundraising is fun because it gets others excited about your important work. At the end of the day, fundraising comes down to your impact and mission. You and your organization are working so hard every day to achieve your mission – fundraising is a chance to proudly and strategically brag about the incredible job you do. The smiles, the hope, and the bright future that you bring to our community should be bragged about… and people will want to give.
If you need help better understanding the systems and procedures of fundraising relationship building, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I offer a free 45 minute consultation. You can also join AFP, read my blog post on other blogs to learn from and follow, or seek resources to hire a fund development staff person.
Have fun and good luck!