We’re sharing our top ten tips for fundraisers for 2020 based on research, practice, thought leadership, and outside expertise.
1) When putting together your fundraising team, consider empathy a necessary skill to have.
- Maarten Bout, M.A. ’18, and Dr. Sara Konrath studied fundraiser contact reports to determine if fundraiser empathy could be linked to desirable outcomes for donors. They also found differences between how women and men were treated in contact reports they studied.
2) Meet donors where their motivations are.
- Some may be motivated by tax policy. Some may be motivated by reputation. Some may be motivated by altruism. Think about all of these motivations, and consider creating a donor survey to understand how your donors think about their giving.
3) Don’t be afraid to fundraise from foundations!
- “It’s important to approach a foundation partnership with the knowledge that you provide an important, positive, and powerful resource. You and your nonprofit didn’t create poverty or hunger, so think of yourself as an equal when you are working with a foundation,” says Jeff Small, vice president of programs at the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.
4) Develop intentional strategies to engage communities of color.
- Households across all racial groups give, and have given for a long time.
- A donor’s race does not have a significant effect on the amount given to charity, when taking income and other factors into account.
5) Continue to engage your board in the process of fundraising.
- Engaging a board in fundraising is “absolutely essential for success,” explains Julie Teer, chief development and public affairs officer at the Boys & Girls Club of America.
- “Lay out expectations ahead of time, so that your board knows what to expect and nonprofits won’t be disappointed by lack of involvement,” says Dr. Gene Tempel, founding dean emeritus of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Also develop a board matrix to look for different skills and characteristics that the board needs.”
6) For younger donors, show impact and importance.
- Build trust with those donors in order to succeed.
7) Planned giving is the “easy button” for your organization—use it!
- Nonprofits can provide sample language for a simple will bequest in a newsletter, website, and flyer or brochure that can be handed to donors.
- How to ask these donors about planned giving? Say ‘If I could share with you a way to significantly help the future of our organization by leaving a legacy that doesn’t cost you any money now and it’s very simple to do, would you be interested?’
8) Make it easy for companies to get involved in a way that suits their business.
- Businesses want employees to have higher morale so that they’re more productive. What’s one of the best ways to build morale? A company volunteer program.
- For nonprofits, conduct research and ask corporations about the ways in which they and their employees can give back.
9) Have systems in place so that if a fundraiser leaves, it will have little impact on donor engagement.
- Remember that a donor’s relationship is with the organization, not the fundraiser. Ensure that proper gift tracking and reporting systems are in place for your organization when recording gifts.
10) During economic highs and lows, continue asking donors for money.
- While the percentage of households giving began to decline in 2008, donors who gave continued to give similar amounts.
- So, nonprofits don’t have to worry that donors will completely stop giving during a time of recession. Giving can become a habit.
What are your tips for fundraisers in 2020?