Setting Goals for Fundraising

Anybody can be a fundraiser, but you have to set goals in order to do it. Heritage Vice President John Von Kannon gave a talk on just that topic last week at Resource Bank. Here are some snippets of his advice:

The first goal for a fundraiser is to make budget. The budget comes from your business plan, and the business plan follows from your organization’s mission statement. Fundraising is about selling the mission of the organization to potential donors.

You need to identify enough prospects to allow you to make budget. Having a direct mail program will help you identify donors who may be willing to make larger gifts.

The next step is cultivation. Learning your donors passions and interests will help inform the ask. This means talking and, more important, listening.

Once the donor knows enough and cares enough, it is time to solicit the gift. The ask is never about your needs. It’s about the donor’s needs—how making them a part of your organization’s mission can enhance their lives.

Stewardship is about thanking people for their gifts and recognizing their gifts, but it also means making the relationship about more than money. Make sure your organization’s president thank donors personally for gifts. Never take the continued support of a long-time donor for granted; you need to convince them anew with every ask.

The second goal for a fundraiser: The widow of a donor is genuinely happy to see you when you attend his funeral. This demonstrates that your relationship was real and personal, rather than financial and transactional.

These principles apply regardless of the size of your organization, or whether you are soliciting from individuals or foundations. Foundations are run by individuals who have needs, too. Fundraising is about building relationships.