The #1 New Year’s Resolution for Fundraisers

Welcome to the new year.  It’s a clean slate.  A fresh start.  What can you do differently to raise more?  The #1 answer is simple:  be more donor centered.

But what does that mean?  Here’s 5 donor centered strategies to implement right now:   

  1. Resolve to learn more about your donors.

#1 New Years Resolution for NonprofitsWhat programs do they care about?  What motivated them to give in the first place?  What was the best gift they ever gave and why?  What do they love about what they do?  How do they prefer to be communicated with?  You can ask these question in a visually rich donor survey and/or when you call them to thank them just for being a donor.

  1. Use what you learn to deepen the donor experience by focusing on them.

Asking your donors what they care about and delivering it builds trust. It also moves you from being an intrusion in their busy word to an invited guest.  Now you’re ready to delight them by talking about the things they care about the way they want to hear them.

  1. Dedicate yourself to making your donors FEEL something.

While you are busy trying to articulate just how awesome your programs are your donor might be tossing your letter in the trash.   How YOU feel is irrelevant.  What your donors fell is the ONLY thing that matters.  Does your letter make them feel great about themselves?  It should.

  1. Set a revenue goal for every donor in your portfolio.

Base ask goals on your donor’s capacity, inclination, prior giving and interests.  Now you’re ready for your best fundraising year ever!  What’s more, when your CEO walks in and tells you about a budget shortfall you’ve got solid ground to push back on unrealistic goals.

  1. Call and personally thank 10 donors a week.

Don’t start with the biggest and then fall off the wagon on this goal come February.  Stick with it.  Sprinkle in a few great discovery questions and some thoughtful follow up.  Before you know it your lower level donors are now major gift prospects.  The secret is you have to STICK WITH IT.  Put it on your calendar as a recurring appointment for example, every Tuesday at 10 am.

Hungry for more ideas?  I’d like to give you 50 more!  Join me for my new Raise More Major Gifts NOW!  webinar series. As a special bonus, all GuideStar readers get $50 off! In 4 weeks you’ll get all the tools and strategies for a thriving major gift program.  Who to target.  How to build the relationship. Tools and tricks to stay organized.  How to overcome objections.  The best discovery questions to solicit major gifts.  How to nail the ask.  PLUS everything you need to get started getting the largest gifts of all – planned gifts!

What are you waiting for?

Let’s make 2016 epic!

My Worst Fundraising Moment

Rachel Muir

The preceding is a guest post by Rachel Muir, CFRE. As Vice President of Training at Pursuant she transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers through classroom, custom and online training.  When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card.  Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show.

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