Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Is fundraising losing its soul?

There are a lot of nonprofit organizations that do really fantastic work and have passionate supporters.

There are, however, vast numbers of nonprofits who don’t have passionate supporters but still do fantastic work.
What’s the difference?
Sr. Judy reminded me last week that the difference is “being generous.” Frankly, I had never looked at it that way, but she was right on.
To younger generations, starting with the Baby Boomers, fundraising has come to seem too mechanical, too industrialized. I’ve written about this in the past . . . so many fundraising articles and blogs focus on the Five Point plans or the Six Tips that guarantee success. They are out there in such profusion that we are tempted to believe that if we only incorporate these keys to success, our donations will skyrocket. We are even coached to put more emotion into our appeals . . . as if the reality behind many missions isn’t heartbreaking enough.
It is as if we believe money is hard to come by in America. Really? The average trip to get groceries is $75, what is a $30 check to your charity?
This isn’t to denigrate the donors. At least they are stepping up to the plate, and thank God for them!
But what are we in fundraising doing to be generous to our supporters?
Some organizations and their fundraising groups have this down. Their number one priority is all about developing relationships. But others … especially when the fundraising organization has gotten large… are they generous or mechanical?
I think the key question is, do you tip relational or transactional?
Does your fundraising team worry first about their organization taking care of the needs of supporters (that’s a relational mind-set), or do you believe that the supporter donations are to take care of your organization (that’s a transactional mindset)?  
Both mindsets can raise money in America, but which mindset is being generous?
Join us.
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