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Fundraising and the Business of Relationships
The golden key to effective fundraising is an organizations ability to manage relationships. While some may consider this an oversimplified explanation of a complex non-profit business model, our experience has shown us that this is one of the most overlooked, yet lucrative, elements of our fundraising efforts.
The backbone of any fundraising campaign is the appeal to donors for contributions. The problem many organizations run into during this phase of their fundraising efforts is that they have neglected to keep their donors engaged with their organization since their previous appeal for support. The donor no longer feels engaged by, or attached to, your organization in any meaning way. What distinguishes your organization or non-profit from the next?
We advise all of our clients to develop strong relationships with their donors and supporters. In the non-profit sector, these relationships play a significant role in the success of any given campaign. In some cases, these relationships can make or break an organization. Keep in mind that appeals for support are not always of the monetary type. Organizations of every type need support staff, and your donor list is an ideal place to search for new recruits.
One of the most important elements of fundraising is strategic planning, and your donor list can provide you with a lot of useful information. For instance, a well organized donor list can provide you with information about the types of causes a certain individual tends to support. By studying the types of initiatives an individual supports, you can make relatively educated guesses about their receptiveness to your current efforts. By organizing and tracking this data, you can save your organization valuable time and resources that could be used more effectively in another area.
A number of organizations purchase their donor lists from a third party. While this may be the most convenient solution, it is certainly not the most effective. It is imperative for any organization that is serious about fundraising to develop a proprietary donor list. This is a significant point that is often overlooked. By building your own donor list, you become engaged with the people in your community. These are the people that will support your organization over the long term, and the ones most likely to get involved.
About the Author: Michelle Pearson is a fundraising professional with over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She is also a regular contributor to the internet's preeminent fundraising magazine, fundraisingknowhow.com – a wonderful website with creative fundraising ideas, fundraising books, fundraising tools and more.