People often come up to me and ask, “Why does fundraising have to be so hard?” I have to admit that I am a bit of a pip, so I often respond by asking the question, “Is it, really?” Despite the tongue-in-cheek, it is a serious question. Although fundraising does take effort—consistent effort and focus—it doesn’t have to be the uphill push that many fundraisers—volunteer and professional—experience. How’s that? Think “friends among friends.”
One of the most common mistakes that I see fundraisers make is in their choice of whom to ask for a gift. I often wonder what, if any, thought has been given to that choice before the ask. Spread the net far and wide. Ask everyone within reach. Ask as many as possible. Blanket the community with publicity. Sound familiar?
To make fundraising more effective and personally satisfying think “one person at a time.” Effective appeals, even those involving thousands of individuals and raising millions of dollars, begin with one person telling another of a compelling mission to better the lives of others.
Principle 5 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is “Work From the Inside Out.” When you’re seeking gifts for your worthy cause, start with those who are closest to your organization by both relationship and affinity. As you bring more people into the fold, move out in concentric circles of influence.
Fundraising done in this manner is organic; it builds upon its own success. Trust me. You’ll raise more money, develop more momentum for your organization, and make many new friends—all while enjoying the journey.