5 Steps to Successful Fundraising

  1. Systems & Procedures – Most of us have attended successful events where the sponsoring charity has raised tens of thousands of dollars. There might be a sense of envy when we hear that number announced, but it wasn’t so much the success of the event as it was the success of the organization. For years most of these groups have worked hard implementing successful systems and procedures that have allowed them to grow their donor database and implement these impressive events. In other words, most of us do not see the massive foundation that led to their success.
  2. Relationships – Fundraising is about building relationships with donors and including them in the process. I can’t begin to tell you how many cups of tea I have had with sweet little old ladies who want to attach a face to the charity they love. They want someone to thank them personally and let them know that you value their commitment.
  3. Communicate – You need to keep your donors informed and engaged. Fundraising is story telling. People want to hear about your successes and like most businesses there is a “what have you done lately” mentally among donors. If you are not keeping your message in front of them in a compelling way,  someone else will.
  4. ASK – This sounds so simple but I have attended many events where no specific ask was made, or gone to lunch with Executive Directors who told the story, engaged the donor, but didn’t close the deal. Fundraising is very much the art of “closing the deal.” The best development people know how to ask, when to ask, and what to ask for.
  5. Say Thank You – and say it often. Say thank you at events. Send individual thank you’s to donors. Write hand written notes to people who give. Say thank you by sending birthday cards, remembering anniversaries and showing you care. I have one couple I seek out at every event. Both were widowed late in life and met at one of our fundraising dinners. They later married and never miss an event. They are forever connected to the charity, but I always make sure to celebrate their “meeting anniversary” at our event.


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