Regularly, I am reminded why I call this blog “Too Busy to Fundraise.” Because you are. Or, more truthfully, you think you are. And so does everyone else at your organization. Not think that YOU are too busy, but that they are. Most definitely.
I’ve spent much of the past 8 years trying to figure out why.
Part of the issue, I think (and it is a tremendous issue) is that too many people see fundraising as a problem instead of part of the solution It’s an impediment–a time suck–instead of being something valuable on so many levels and so critical to your success.
So time is spent writing grants, which yes, bring in money but don’t build an organization’s capacity to sustainably do good work. Grants, typically, are for specific programs, and those that are for general operations often carry their own strings.
Or we do events, which may or may not bring in a lot of cash but certainly cost a great deal in time and energy and don’t particularly tie your attendees to your work or your cause. Those that are engaged and involved often come to an event to support the work you do–think how much more you might get–not just in cash but in relationships, connections, genuine support–from a personal meeting. You could find out what motivates this person; what matters.
You could get a charitable gift, yes. But you can also get introductions to others, ideas on things you may not have thought of, an engaged new board member—and that is just the most obvious things on the list
Worse than a lot of this is the way that most nonprofits isolate and silo their different parts. Programs don’t talk to development who hunker in and either don’t talk with marketing or take it over–relieved, I suspect, to have good reason to sit behind a computer.
Asking is always a concern and we focus overmuch on that ask. Instead we should focus on our prospects, our donors, and learn what matters to them–what motivates them–what makes them feel good. We should share with them how our organization gives life to our values. We should learn what their values are and how our organization meshes with those
And, most of all, we should never be too busy to fundraise.
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