There’s no magical solution to growing your fundraising, but there are some key strategies that – when applied consistently – will help you make progress on your fundraising outcomes.
Here are some practical ways to prioritize your efforts toward those that have the best return and that will provide sustainable results well into the future.
Prioritize Good Board Rotation.
Your organization changes over time; so should your board! New leaders bring new ideas and networks to the table, even when simply given a chance to serve in different capacity on your board (think: committees!). State your limits and goals in your bylaws so you will stick to them – also consider a committee of board and staff that meets regularly to discuss rotating leadership. As always – with any current or incoming board members, remember to celebrate their service and make them feel welcome.
Track and review data.
Review your data, asking yourself if the fundraising activities set in place are growing your organization or keeping it from reaching its highest fundraising potential. Periodically review your fundraising strategies with your leadership and board to ensure accountability and make any necessary course corrections.
Learn more about tracking fundraising outcomes here.
Create a development plan that renews, recruits, and cultivates donors.
Use a format that works for you and your team, as every organization has its own perspective and ways of communicating goals. Set your goals based on your actual – not budget – numbers from the previous years. Your development plan should indicate a balance of renewal, recruitment, and cultivation activities (and clearly identify the outcomes of each activity).
Create clear fundraising staff roles.
Everyone should know who is doing what! Ensure that your fundraising staff has clear roles and responsibilities. This leads to a more functional team and more success in your fundraising, not to mention the avoidance of burnout. These key fundraising roles should include: strategy, communications, database, events, major donors and planned giving, grants, and administrative support.
Develop a mission-centered events plan.
Design an event that centers on your mission. Be yourself! Events are an entry point for many people; there is an opportunity to ensure they leave with more knowledge about your organization than when they arrived. By connecting donors to your mission, you ensure that they are in tune with your needs and are giving as a result of those needs. Moreover, donors are more likely to renew their gift year after year when they understand the need and the use of gifts.
Segment your communications.
Simply put, people have a greater chance of responding when they feel you are talking to them. This applies to newsletters, email communication, annual appeals, and so forth. Specific asks make it easier for people to respond; and not everyone should be asked for the same thing. Not sure where to start? Some good ‘baseline’ segments are major donors or volunteers.
Customize major donor relationships.
First step: identify what a “major annual donor” is for your organization. For some, it may be $1,000, for others it may be $10,000. Next, determine how many major donors your team can personally manage. Research has shown that smaller portfolios result in a greater return due to more intentional connections with your donors. Allocate dedicated time to engage with major donors and consistently provide opportunities for others to become major donors. Use your development plan to identify which major donors you’ll be renewing, recruiting, and cultivating this year, and use tracking systems that hold team members responsible. Most of all: Have patience!
Last (but not least): there’s always time for planned giving.
So many organizations receive bequests that they didn’t solicit or know about. Imagine how many you would get if you did solicit them!
People most likely to leave a planned gift are regular donors (at any level), those with no children, and people over 65. Start with the basic implementation of some tools: a gift acceptance policy, a gift commitment/intention form, and adding some intentional verbiage on materials (such as “Have you thought about leaving ‘x organization’ in your will or estate plans?”) Be intentional about following up with anyone who expresses interest.
While there is no instant solution to boosting your fundraising efforts, these strategies are essential for significantly enhancing your fundraising outcomes. If you need a partner to assist in determining the next steps to fundraising success for your organization, let’s talk!
The content of this blog post is based on “Eight Strategies to Boost Your Fundraising,” presented by Mary Sumners in June 2023. View a recording of the presentation on our Youtube channel and follow along using The Ultimate Fundraising Checklist!
Interested in having Kennari Consulting speak at your event or organization? Check out our list of speaking topics here.