Five Steps to Optimize your Fundraising CapacityMay 2020
A mastery of fundraising demands much more than the ability to ask for money. Use the five steps of the Funding Cycle below to map out your fundraising strategy, help your organization define the tasks and actions needed to build your donor base, and strengthen relationships to effectively increase your fundraising capacity.
Start by analyzing your existing relationships and building up your list of potential donors. Add one time gift donors, low level donors and volunteers to your prospect list. You should also add prospects who have expressed interest in your cause by signing up for a newsletter, attending an event, or reaching out to connect with your organization.
Bulk up your list by doing research on prospects in your community. Use a variety of methods to gather data such as Google searches, government records, social media platforms, research databases and prospect generator tools.
Next, use data segmentation to organize your donors by different demographics and interests. Useful categories include:
- Amount of previous gifts
- Engagement level
- Income level
- Communication preferences
Regardless of which channel you use, you need to communicate with clear, targeted messages that explain the mission, vision and action of your organization. Donors want to know that their gift will make a tangible impact to a cause that is passionate to them before they hand over a check. Articulate your mission and clearly demonstrate that supporting your organization is the best way for donors to be a part of a meaningful, positive change.
As you start building the relationships, connect the appropriate organizational ambassadors with each prospect or donor. Connect organizational leaders to the higher prospect donors, and make sure that the agent you send from your organization has a personality and interests that will enable them to connect authentically with the potential donor.
Throughout your communications, ensure supporters and prospects "feel" the mission and have a sense that they are a part of the positive impact that your organization is making to set you up for success before you make the ask.
Regardless of the response you get, listen closely to the prospect after you make the ask. Making the donor feel heard is important to build an authentic relationship. Receiving feedback is also valuable to help you improve your fundraising process as you can learn from your successes or failures and adapt your process in the future.
Communicate regularly with your donors. Send your donors notes through their preferred communication style, hold donor appreciation events, and keep them updated on key happenings in your organization to make sure they stay connected and engaged.