By Derrick Feldmann
The field of fundraising is evolving. This is not an evolution sparked by the vast transfer of wealth (although very important) – it is an evolution sparked by a changing culture.
Today’s culture changes affect fundraising drastically. Five years ago we were enamored by raising money through websites, then email, social media, and now text. Going forward we will continue to find new ways that organizations can not only find donors but make it easier to give through the latest technology. These changes and new opportunities in fundraising occurred because the general public has moved into new areas of receiving information and engaging with companies, products, and organizations.
How do you stay on top of everything? Here are three simple pieces of advice to consider when you hear about new fundraising approaches:
1. Discover the Strategy and Focus Less on the Result. When we hear about new fundraising success in the nonprofit or local media, we immediately think of the amount raised. We spend little time on the actual strategy. The strategy (tactics used to raise support or relationships – i.e. Facebook, Direct Mail, Peer Fundraising) used during the campaign should be your focus. If the strategy is used with your donor base, what do you suspect would occur as the outcome? The strategy usually can perform at least one of four functions:
a. Facilitate new relationships
b. Strengthen existing relationships
c. Increase support from existing donors
d. Increase support from new donors
After you have determined what the outcome, plot the strategy on the grid below. (Download the Fundraising Strategy Worksheet Here)
2. Rank the Importance of the Strategy. After you have created or downloaded the fundraising grid above, then rank the importance of strategy. For example, if your organization’s current strategic and development plan focuses on building stronger relationships with existing donors to increase financial support, then a strategy you hear about that delivers those two important features should be considered immediately.
3. Determine Level of Execution. Based on your ranking of the outcome and the strategies presented, determine your level of execution. Execution occurs in four levels:
a. Research – research the ROI, costs, and opportunity loss of the new fundraising approach.
b. Testing – test the concept with a specific donor base segment that you want to learn from. The goal is not to test from donors that you know will respond how you want them too. Perform a true experiment with a segment of donors as well as a control group of donors to rule out timing issues, etc.
c. Implementation – if the test is successful, create an implementation plan for the remaining segments of the donor base and the fundraising administrative functions.
d. Incorporation – execute the implementation plan for full incorporation within the fundraising program of the organization.
These simple steps will help you regain control and your sanity when it comes to all of the new fundraising ideas and concepts. Consider using the grid to also brainstorm new ways to increase your fundraising performance.