As the poet Robert Frost wrote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Getting individuals to make financial gifts to your nonprofit can—and does—take two, very different paths. The one you choose—at least the majority of the time—will have a fundamental and lasting impact upon your fundraising results and your critical mission.
When we seek donors to our cause we often see them as consumers. Even if we’re asking these generous individuals for a direct gift, we often want them to buy our stuff. These donors, as consumers, come and they go. They’re on to the next product. We’re seeing this pattern writ-large in the low—and getting lower—donor retention rates so prevalent these days. Definitely not a unique fundraising idea.
On the other hand, when we seek donors to build a relationship we create added value not only for us but also for them. We engage our donor investors in a way that adds value to their lives through the fulfillment of their goals and values and adds value to our organization by building capacity—real, mission-critical capacity.
As our fundraising capacity grows we not only raise more revenue each and every year, we also build even greater capacity. One only enhances the other. Each success nets more with an added kicker.
With consumption, it’s over and done. Once only. Principle 1 of The Eight Principles™ is Donors are the Drivers™. When reaching out to donors, think relationships, think capacity. It’s here this year and again in the next—with a multiplier. Now, that’s a unique fundraising idea.