I recently attended the NCEA Conference in Boston, MA, and was inspired by a really insightful session given by Mary Schaefer, titled The Changing World of Fundraising. Here are some of the key take-aways:
Fundraising and donor cultivation have historically been seen as the sole responsibility of the development office. But, with the changing needs and sophistication of donors, the most successful organizations are now involving their entire community in their efforts. When fundraising becomes a shared responsibility and all members of an organization—including board members, staff, heads of school, executive directors, volunteers, and even donors—are engaged, philanthropic support grows.
Invite your community members to share your organization’s story. When they then tell others what inspires them about your mission, the inspiration becomes infectious! It’s not difficult to share these inspirational stories in your newsletter, on your website, in solicitation letters, or even at events. Involve supporters uncomfortable with making a direct ask by having them use their voice to share their passion for your organization.
Involve others in thanking your donors. Asking your board members or organizations’ beneficiaries to call, write, or email donors and thank them for their gift is a powerful way to show them their gifts matter and makes a lasting impression.
Engage your board beyond the meetings. Ask your board members to share why they volunteer at your organization. Or, invite them to provide intelligence about your prospects. This is a great way to invest in the intellectual capital on your board.
Create opportunities to engage more volunteers in your organization’s work. Not only will they help share the responsibility of getting the work done, many will choose to become investors in your mission‚ 67 percent of volunteers give monetarily to the organizations they serve.
Donors, too, can be powerful allies on your fundraising team.Invite them to be part of your committee, maybe even ask them to chair a special campaign they are passionate about.
Remember, smarter givers want to invest for impact, and they want their gift to matter. Be sure to find ways to engage your community members to share their passion and your story.