Monday, May 10, 2010

The Power of Fundraising

Fundraising isn't just about money! It's about promoting the good work of your organization and creating an environment that welcomes donors to participate in that good work:
  • Promoting your mission: This is where it all starts - with the organizational mission that powers all of your services and programs. And it's surprising to discover how many folks involved actively in nonprofits are unfamiliar with the agency's mission statement. Everyone involved in fundraising should have this mission memorized, and be ready to talk about it - passionately and personally - with clients, members, and donors.
  • Building relationships: Every fundraiser will tell you that there are three basic reasons people give: because they want to participate in the work of the organization, because they were asked, and because they know and respect the person that asked. Your job is to represent your organization with integrity, skill, and passion. As you do this, you also have opportunity to really get to know people - and to build genuine, sustaining partnerships and friendships for yourself and for your agency.
  • Encouraging active participation: When people donate to an organization, whether it be $10 or $10,000, they become involved. They have a sense of ownership of the agency and its services. They care more. And that caring frequently translates into active participation doing meaningful volunteer work that benefits your clients, your organization - and the donor. A recent survey by Volunteer Match indicated that two-thirds of respondents said volunteer work makes them feel healthier, both mentally and physically.
  • Creating community: We live in a fractured, stressful world increasingly dominated by technology - and often sadly lacking in human connection. As you talk to people about your work in making the world a better place, as you build relationships with your donors, as you facilitate their volunteer participation, you are bucking this trend by bringing people together and creating community. Along with the important services nonprofits provide, this too is how the nonprofit sector can help heal the world.
Fundraising is about real people - staff and volunteers and board members like yourselves - and their passionate commitment to a cause. It's about developing sustaining friendships and relationships. It's about creating an atmosphere that gets people involved in volunteering to make their community and world a better place to live. And it's about creating community in a world where we need as much real personal connection as we can get.

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