We talk a lot about the different kinds of fundraising and different kind of donors: Annual, Major, Planned Giving and Planned GiversWe divide this up and in larger shops, have directors and associate directors of….but truth to tell, there is only two kinds of fundraising:
- Arm’s length (or transactional)
- Up close (or relational)
And the thing is, we cultivate and solicit our donors using a variety of techniques, some of which are transactional and some of which are relational.
For example, we send out direct mail, and then cull out the donors who make larger gifts, or have shown their loyalty by giving for 5 years straight, or have had a sudden bump in the amount they give. These, we think, may be worthy of closer attention. But until we are actively working with them on a much larger gift, they stay in the pool of those who get direct mail.
And, along with everyone else, get the newsletter, the e-blast, the phone call that is part of the phone program. And, of course, the invitation to our special event.
And then, perhaps, you call and ask them out for coffee or a meal.
But it’s too often haphazard, especially if you are a small or one-person shop. Then that phone call and asking for a meeting never (or rarely ever) seems to happen.
Meanwhile, we focus on one thing at a time—the direct mail, the eblast, the event invitation. Is it any wonder so many of our donors complain that there is too much fundraising and that they, our donors, are fatigued?
We should be integrating all our asking—even if we are not asking for anything large. On our direct mails, we should remind our donors that they can leave a legacy or sponsor our upcoming event.
At the event, we should talk about the many ways that our attendees could support the work we do.
Our newsletters should highlight to many ways to give to our organization. And when we do meet with donors and prospects we should talk about their comprehensive giving—for this year and maybe the next few years.
But while we are doing all this asking, we must not forget to spend even more time thanking our supporters for everything they do—and all that is possible because of their generosity.
Which means we need to reach out to them more often to simply appreciate the things they do and to show them how their gifts truly make a difference.
It’s a balance—which takes thinking and planning. It takes involving our donors in all we do. It takes not just integrating our fundraising but integrating our donors in our work and with our mission and remembering that without them, none of what we do can happen.