Are you new to fundraising? Or suddenly the chief (or only!) fundraiser?
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
I get it. Even after decades of fundraising, I took a DOD position that basically placed all fundraising responsibility on my shoulders. With very little budget. And a board that was not only unused to fundraising but hostile to it.
I call these Rumpelstiltskin jobs because you’re expected to spin gold from straw. No resources, no help, but an urgent need for money.
Here’s some help
Sometimes, what you need most is a way to step outside your immediate mess, take a breath and start, one step at a time.
I’ve known about Pamela for at least 15 years. I found her online and was grateful for all the good, sensible, actionable advice she provided through her website. While I’m still a fan, now I’m also proud to call Pam a friend.
But I’m not suggesting you read this book because Pam is my friend. I’m suggesting you read it because it will help you put a good fundraising program in place.
Pam lays it all out for you in an easy to read, step-by-step, way. Wondering what a culture of philanthropy is? Or how to begin seeking foundation grants? Maybe your current website is awful, and you’re the one who realizes it needs to be updated, yesterday – but how?
In other words, everything the person who needs to do it all needs to know.
Pam takes you from “Getting started” all the way to “Inspiration for when the going gets tough.” My favorite chapter might be the one all about her “Simple Development Systems Donor Attraction Model”.
Why? It’s filled with what you need to communicate well with your donors. Does Pam do the writing for you? No. But she does outline what you should be doing – and why.
Donor care is the center of fundraising
For instance, you’ll learn why donor newsletters are so important. What you need in place for a direct mail program. And how to say thank you like you mean it.
If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’ll know how much I stress creating a warm, personal thank you. It’s no more difficult than creating an organization-focused, formal, impersonal one. Gaining new donors is hard – and getting harder. So it’s just foolish not to put resources into creating a thank you that makes donors feel special.
You need a system
One step at a time. The only way to succeed is to take one meaningful step at a time. Once that feels normal, you can another.
But if you’re jumping on the newest thing, you’re probably running in circles. That’s exhausting.
This is the outline you need to set up a system that works – one that raises money. And one that doesn’t cause you additional exhaustion. Like me, Pam has been there. She gets it.
Fundraise with your heart – and your head
I will admit, I’ve read other experts who approach fundraising only in an analytical sense. I can’t do that. And I don’t you should, either. The act of asking, and the act of giving, is emotional. It’s an act of the heart.
Should we keep great records? Should we analyze our activities to decide where to put resources? Should we take advantage of the amazing tools we now have to make donors feel close to our organizations? Hell, yes.
But if you leave your heart at the door, you’re cheating yourself as well as your donors. Because fundraising can fill you as well as exhaust you.
And that’s why we do it, isn’t it?