Or should I say, is your organization afraid?
I’ve been fundraising for a long time. And commitment has always been a struggle.
Getting the organization to spend time, focus, or money to grow or maintain fundraising is hard.
At one time or another I’ve been told:
There’s no money for fundraising. (To hire staff, to invest in software, to send a mailing or update a website).
There’s no time for fundraising. (For staff to attend events or speak to donors).
We can’t ask people to give! (Because they’d unsubscribe from an email list. Or because it’s scary to ask).
It’s maddening for a fundraiser. But…
Maybe they’ve been right.
Here’s what I mean: if the organization won’t make fundraising a priority, why should donors give?
Fundraising is about relationships. Why should donors commit to us if we won’t commit to a relationship – ongoing and meaningful – with them?
I’ve just finished Jeff Brooks’ book The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand. I can’t encourage you strongly enough to read it. It’s only a little more than 200 pages, but I took a few days with it. I’m a fast reader. But this book demanded I stop to think – and that’s a good thing.
The second-class status of fundraising in too many organizations has frustrated me for years.
You know what I mean – the sense that fundraising is necessary, but rather distasteful, and best left to staff hired for just that.
Or our programs will suffer if we invest in fundraising.
Or management sets up different departments as rivals. It’s program staff or marketing staff versus fundraising staff in a death match!
Guess who loses? The people you serve.
Jeff puts his finger right on this sore spot. He says “The truly successful nonprofit brands are those that build their love and respect for donors into their structure.” He adds, “If your organization needs money from fundraising, everyone should have their success, including their compensation, tied to fundraising success.”
Does that sound like the way your organization works?