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ProSpeak

By Who's Up Next?

About ProSpeak

Essays about the nitty-gritty of fundraising, written by the people who do it every day

 

Get What You Give

Joe Boland
Engage Virtual Workshop: A Conversation With the ALS Association
Oct 31, 2014

In an exciting, two-part webinar series, FundRaising Success is hosting in partnership with Blackbaud and Charity Dynamics, the ALS Association...



Pay It Forward

F. Duke Haddad
When Have You Given Back?
Oct 31, 2014

I strongly encourage every person in our profession to volunteer and give back to help to others. Giving is what...



It's Your Turn

Larry C Johnson
Running Into the New Year — How to Win With Year-End Fundraising
Oct 30, 2014

Focusing on high-cash giving not only maximizes actual year-end returns, but more importantly, builds motivation and commitment in the segment...



Old Dog Fundraising

Pamela Barden
3 Ideas to Improve (Almost) Any Fundraising Activity
Oct 30, 2014

Aren't your donors worth putting some extra effort into creating events and campaigns that are worth their time and, ultimately,...



Ruthlessly Practical Fundraising

Gail Perry
How Do We Attract, Develop and Retain Good Fundraisers?
Oct 29, 2014

There's an emerging movement to value talent, invest in the next generation, be open to change, and look for and...



Bedrocks & Beacons

Jeff Jowdy
It Is a Time of Thanks and to Celebrate Giving!
Oct 29, 2014

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Take time today to be sure that you are maximizing this opportunity to...



Navigating Off the Napkin

Angie Moore
The Great Budget Excus … um … Debate
Oct 28, 2014

Budget management and budget cuts are never easy, but becoming stagnant and not trying to change is not the answer....



Connections

Jeff Schreifels
Major-Gifts Officers: Do You Have a Confidant?
Oct 27, 2014

Extend your hands, bring someone in and allow yourself to share the pressure of your work with someone else, where...



Outside Counsel

Willis Turner
Want More Loyalty? Grant These 6 Donor Wishes
Oct 27, 2014

It's not always easy to make your donors' wishes come true. But if you don't put forth the effort to...



Outrageous Hope

Margaret Battistelli
Engage P2P Conference Is Next Week
Oct 15, 2014

Join FundRaising Success in Washington, D.C., next week for our inaugural peer-to-peer conference, Engage P2P: Redefining Peer to Peer.
...



Donor Trippin'

Nick Allen
Is There an App for Us?
Jul 1, 2014

Got an idea for an app that could connect a charity or nonprofit with its supporters and beneficiaries in an...



Raising the Possibilities

Thaddeus B. Kubis
Recurring Themes: The Case for Integrated Marketing Communications, Part 2
Dec 27, 2013

Recent discussions focus on a myriad of topics, but in the past two months, the recurring targeted topics seem to...



Hump Day Hullabaloo

Jo Sullivan
Hump Day Hullaballoo: Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway
May 22, 2013

This week, as I transition into my new position as interim executive director at Save the Chimps, we're talking about...



The Difference Between Fundraising and Development

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Fundraising. Resource Development. It's the same thing, right? Or is it?

Many people use these terms interchangeably, but I think there's a significant difference, especially for folks working in a small shop. When you're overworked and maybe overwhelmed, it's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of raising money. You need the dollars, right? Gotta make budget, right? Programs can't be delivered without funds, right?

Right, right, and right.

Except that sometimes it's wrong to focus just on the dollars. Consider these situations:

Case A: The executive director of a small nonprofit is responsible for everything — administration, fundraising, supporting the board, and overseeing operations. The organization hosts a variety of small fundraising events throughout the year, which generate a considerable amount of publicity and attract lots of people through ticket sales.

Case B: A regional nonprofit produces a very popular 5K race that is highly anticipated each year among area runners. A local restaurant is the main sponsor and provides a lavish picnic at the end of the race to all the runners.

Case C: A well-known and respected local organization sends out an annual direct-mail piece in the fall. The appeal brings in a small amount of money, which goes directly toward the bottom line of its annual fundraising campaign.

This all sounds good right?

Except that it's not. In each of these cases, money is being raised. But that's about it. None of these activities are sustainable they way they are. None are being leveraged to their capacity. And there are problems that need to be addressed.

Here's the rest of the story.
Case A: This organization has gotten itself on the special event hamster wheel. In the absence of knowledge, the board focuses on events. That's all the members know how to do so that's what they do. And while the community supports each of the small events, many people consider their ticket purchase as their "gift" to the organization, which leaves no room for individual donor development. And frankly, some people in the community are getting tired of all the events (not to mention how tired the staff and volunteers are from working them!).

What development might look like: If this organization cut out half of its events and instead spent the time on developing relationships with its best individual donor prospects, it would come out way ahead in the long run. All of these events don't provide sustainable funding for the organization and the important work it does in the community. Committed individual donors do. Individuals who feel a connection to the organization and a loyalty to its mission will give year after year. It's like having a group of good friends who will stick with you no matter what.

Case B: At first glance, this seems like a good event. But when you consider staff time in the budget, this event could be losing money or at best breaking even (which is very common with this kind of event). Also consider that the audience is very limited and are focused on improving their running time, not necessarily supporting the cause.

What development might look like: This organization needs to go one of two ways: Either modify the event to appeal to a wider audience or stop doing the event. To modify the event, the nonprofit might add a walk, encouraging participants to seek pledges and focusing on how the money from the event will make a difference. This will help increase both the quantity and quality of participants. With careful strategy, the walk participants can become donors to the organization.

Case C: This is a case of smoke and mirrors. The organization is so focused on hitting its annual fundraising goal that it counts every dollar it possibly can add to the final total. Its direct-mail appeal isn't particularly well done and goes out to a list of people who aren't regularly communicated with. The result is a lackluster response, and when you look at the expenses, the nonprofit is losing money on this activity.

What development might look like: The organization needs to do a better job overall of cultivating relationships with donors throughout the year, including keeping them updated about the work being done in the community to change lives. A strong appeal mailed after a series of meaningful communications will likely generate significantly more revenue for the organization.

In each of these scenarios, looking at just the dollars raised doesn't reveal the whole story. These activities are focused on the immediate money raised and are considered fundraising activities. In order to build for the future, each organization needs to shift its focus away from fundraising and instead pay attention to development — developing donor relationships that lead to long-term organizational sustainability.

Sandy Rees is a nonprofict coach and consultant fundraising coach and consultant, specializing in helping small nonprofit organizations raise more money, strengthen theirb oards, and build relationships with donors. Reach her at sandy@sandyrees.com

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