7 Steps to Fundraising Success This Year: Strategic Tips for Your Board and CEO

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The new year is a great time to take stock of your fundraising strategy.Jigsaw_pieces-300x230

Here are my strategic tips for board members and CEOs.

These will help build a well-oiled fundraising machine inside your organization – something we all want!

1. Go After the Easy Money This Year.

Where is the easy money in fundraising today?

It’s with your entire base of CURRENT donors. These are the folks who are often ignored as you search for NEW donors.

The easy money is getting your current donors to renew their gifts – and make bigger gifts.

Maybe even converting them to monthly donors.

How do you develop your current donors into life-time donors? Read on!

2. Focus on Donor Loyalty to Build a Sustainable Program that Brings In Consistent Cash Flow.

What do I mean by donor loyalty? It’s those current donors again!

What’s your nonprofit doing to “love on” those current donors?? Are you like many other nonprofits, and simply forgetting about them once you’ve sent out a thank you letter?

You can take specific steps to engage your current donors. It’s easily accomplished.

You want your donors to like you so much that they will put your organization at the top of their “favorites” list.

3. Watch Your ROI.

Take a careful look at the relative profitability of your various fundraising strategies.

You can expect a measurable ROI from investing in your fundraising program.

You can expect a measurable ROI from investing in your fundraising program.

You should know that your events are the least profitable way to spend the time of fundraising staff.

Events are the most difficult way to raise money.

Educating your leaders about ROI is a great way to help them understand how to make smart investments in fundraising.

ROI is a business term that most board members are comfortable with.

The ROI of Major Gifts is very high. And we know that the ROI of fundraising events is LOW.

Alas. This makes me very sad, because too many events are a waste of time and energy. (You can quote me on that one!)

But many smart fundraising staffers can’t get to the Major Gifts visits because they are forced to spend all their time on events. Time to educate our leaders on this one!

4. Invest in Major Gifts and Planned Gifts.

Clearly we all know these fundraising strategies are what brings in the big money.

Major and planned gifts are where the big money is!

Major and planned gifts are where the big money is!

These are the most profitable places to spend your resources of time, energy and money.

It’s important to train your board and staff on all aspects of major gifts – from identifying prospects, to getting the door open and the soft skills of cultivating them, to making the BIG ask.

These are sophisticated skills EVERYONE in fundraising needs!

And Planned Giving is where transformational gift come from. Don’t forget to talk with donors about putting your organization in their wills.

5. Work to Build an Internal Culture of Philanthropy that will Support Fundraising.

How do we get internal support for fundraising?

I'm sharing how to create the most engaging and inspiring board retreat ever!

I’m sharing how to create the most engaging and inspiring board retreat ever!

Well it takes education and time. You have to educate your colleagues and leaders about how fundraising really works.

When people don’t understand fundraising, then they typically make up terrible, fearful myths about how awful it is.

Educating people lowers the fear and actually enables them to happily support the fundraising effort.

Everyone in your organization should know their personal elevator speech and why they care. Focus them on Friendmaking and they will relax about fundraising. :)

This year I’ll be sharing my internationally popular format for a board retreat on fundraising. It’s the first time I’ve ever, ever revealed my methodology, powerpoints and handouts.

6. Invest in Infrastructure.

Infrastructure is what will create a well-oiled fundraising machine for your nonprofit. (Yay!)

Clean up your database. (How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution?!)

Make your back office folks feel like an important part of the team.

Make sure everyone who answers the phone is: a) cheerful, and b) can respond properly to a donor’s questions.

Get agreement on how your office will do certain things – policies and processes will make everyone more comfortable and everything will run more smoothly.

Agree on your fundraising calendar, schedules and who does what. THIS is what will bring you relief when things get busy!

This high quality image can touch a donor's heart. From Charity:water.

7. Invest time and money in videos and high quality photos to share your message.

Fundraising just may be turning into something else called “fund-marketing.”

You may have a killer message but it’s the way you broadcast your message that matters most. It’s in your marketing skills.

Do you have lousy photos? Or are your photos so great that they can make a donor’s heart open by just viewing the image??

And it’s time to develop your video skills. There are so many wonderful ways to use videos to spread the word, thank donors and engage them in your work!


Share this with your leaders to create a helpful discussion about fundraising strategy.