Lots of times there isn’t a good reason. Or even an articulable reason.
(Happy New Year! You have my good wishes for 2013! This has nothing to do with that, though I suppose you could adopt “challenge the status quo” as a resolution.)
From questioning the way you track prospect visits to revamping a newsletter concept to adding a theme to an annual dull event, don’t accept that which can be changed–and should be.
Have the courage to question to find out what can be done differently.
There’s just no need to live with that which you can make better. And no one more qualified to call the question than you if you’re in the trenches, on the ground, doing the work, suffering the stupidity.
Question. Challenge. Reject. Revolt.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the only ones who do.
Change doesn’t come in enormous, monumental shifts. It comes from incremental steps.
Take the first step. Ask why.
Nothing is perfect when it first arrives, so don’t let fear of imperfection hold you back. Be willing to make the change, then learn, improve and hone.
A boy scout leader wisely admonished me in my teens: tradition is often a mistake made more than once.
We’re in the midst of a recession (I really don’t like “difficult economic times”), with talk about our slight recovery losing steam, and Bill and Melinda Gates are full-steam-ahead encouraging philanthropy: Bravi!
Couple this with their encouraging fellow wealthy families to give away half their wealth during life in a $600 billion challenge, and I see really admirable deeds. I also see reminders for all fundraisers.
They’re soliciting their wealthy friends in a targeted, individual approach, and encouraging giving from the broader constituency, the entire world population, through the RPA activities.
The guides will be on the web in the “Donor Resources” section of the RPA website. I’m assuming they’ll be in many languages. The major gift prospects are getting personal solicitations while those of us who, in comparison, can give through the annual fund, are getting a broader appeal.
Their work is a perfect example of stratifying prospects and devising cultivation and solicitation strategies appropriate to each prospect segment. The largest nonprofits know this and the other 95% can learn.
Marquee name foundation grants instill confidence in the organization and encourage others to invest in it. Board members can influence others to give.
The testimonial letter should be standard in your fundraising, whether that’s for planned giving or your annual fund. All of these are more powerful than the fundraising or development officer solicitation.
Excepting foundations, it’s the power of a personal referral: “I made a gift, here’s why, and you should, too.” We all value referrals in our business and personal matters (“Do you know somebody who can . . .?), and they make both parties feel good.
I relish opportunities to refer solid people to my friends. It’s gratifying. And my friends are grateful.
Seek out your donors who can motivate others to follow them, and use their testimonials often.