Many paths to raising funds

by Jini Stolk

More and more people have been asking for advice on fundraising. I don’t mind. I know that a big fundraising goal can feel as scary as crossing a crocodile-infested estuary. But in the interest of making it less terrifying than zip lining across a 200-foot gorge, here are a few helpful ideas:

Research: The more you know about your prospect’s interests and history of giving, the more likely you are to make a successful ask. Imagine Canada’s Grant Connect is probably the most accurate and comprehensive funding research tool in Canada. I also like Big Online Canada which has a new way of linking foundation board members to their networks and connections.

Set goals: Define exactly what you’re trying to achieve. This interesting piece suggests that your specific goals might include raising awareness, acquiring new recurring donors, increasing the size of your average annual gift, or increasing the number of gifts through online or other channels. Each requires specific strategies and tactics.

Plan: Classy puts out a free Campaign Planning Kit that is quite good; I’m going to use it with a collaborative fundraising project I’m working on.

Increase your prospect list: Enlist your current donors in spreading the word about your campaign by asking them to refer you to others who might be interested, reminding them, telling them why it matters, following up fast, and thanking them.

Thank donors the way they want to be thanked: Jenna Quant of Causeview has gone through a lot of donor surveys to find out what donors like best, and it isn’t publishing their names or giving them token gifts. They really like and appreciate donor recognition events. As I’ve always said: people love parties.


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