As the financial investment reports hit our mailboxes in January and the media pumps out the specifics of our “Global Financial Crisis” to millions of viewers, non-profit organizations begin to brace for the worst. Non-profit fundraising isn’t the most pleasant topic to discuss over lunch or breakfast with a donor. During a recent Foundation Board Meeting, my smart Resource Development Professional gave us all a great internet article by Jeffrey Byrne & Associates entitled “Stay Calm, Keep Focus on Fundraising in Uncertain Times” (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would recommend you all to read these brief but thoughtful recommendations.
One point of the seven recommendations that resonate with me is the need to get back to fundamentals. How often do many of us take advantage of our donor relationships; expecting them to write us a check after a brief lunch. Getting back to fundraising basics means to believe in your mission statement, articulate your organization’s needs to the donor and cultivate your relationship. Many of us send birthday or anniversary cards, call on them to talk about an event in the local paper or get their advice on an important issue. Above all we need to be good listeners and enjoy the valuable relationship of our donors. Donor cultivation is more than one event but a continuous process that should build over time. Let’s quit the whining, start meaningful relationship building, and be thoughtful supporters to our donors.