02 Jul Fundraising Discipline
By David Allen, Development for Conservation
Dis ci pline: control gained by enforcing orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
(Adapted from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.)
Here’s a TRUTH sequence to start your day today:
- If you include planned giving and family foundations, individuals account for more than 85% of all the money given away each year. If your organization is more dependent on foundation and corporate support than about 15-20% it speaks to the enormity of your untapped potential as much as to your organizational vulnerability.
- Relatively few donors give the lion’s share of the money. Prevailing wisdom suggests this isn’t 20% giving 80% anymore, but rather 20% giving more than 90%. In my work, I have correlated the giving of $250 and more to 60-75% of money given by individuals and families.
- Raising larger amounts of money from individual supporters involves building relationships with them – thinking about them as individuals, tailoring specific activities for them designed to pique their interest and draw them closer to the mission, and even recognizing them when you meet them unexpectedly.
- Building relationships with donors requires spending time with them – getting on the phone, meeting them in person, taking them on a walk, paddle, or other excursion. Engaging them in a mission experience.
- Almost anything you do will be easier than reaching out to donors and prospects by phone or in person.
- Doing it anyway involves DISCIPLINE – enforcing a prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.
Discipline is something you do every Monday. Or Friday. Or every 1st. Or every January. Here are several examples.
- Make five phone calls to donors you do not know every day.
- Meet with three donors in person every week.
- Take a different Board member to breakfast every month. (Let area donors know when and where and invite them to join you.)
- Research new donors and members making first gifts every Wednesday morning.
- Write ten hand-notes saying thank you before you leave the office every Friday.
- Make the first week of every month “follow-up” week. Who did you talk with or meet with last month? Who needs another call, visit, email, nudge? Who promised something that you never saw? What did you forget to do?
- Take yourself out to see a new project (or revisit a favorite one) every summer. Extra credit if it’s an easement and you include a visit with the landowner. Extra, extra credit if you take a donor or a Board member with you.
- Write a blog every Tuesday morning!
Discipline isn’t easy. If it were your favorite part of each week, it wouldn’t require discipline! But if you will apply discipline, it will eventually become habit.
And these habits – thoughtfully and intentionally reaching out to donors, getting to know them and their motivations for supporting the organization – will help you raise more money.
What are you doing now that would qualify as discipline?
Cheers, and Have a great week.
Photo by Paul Gilmore, courtesy www.unsplash.com