This conversation isn't unique. I've noticed an interesting trend when talking to leaders of growing charities. Keep in mind, these are inspired social entrepreneurs passionate enough to not just have an idea - but build from nothing. Zero to Hero (as we like to say). And yet, when it comes to fundraising, they give themselves an F. I'd like to suggest an alternative that's realistic and will make folks like these a lot happier...
I often parallel our nonprofit work with endurance training, a personal passion of mine. Inspired by a setback I had in my own training, I recently started work with a coach. Our first week of work together was all about establishing baselines for my running, cycling and swimming. During the first several workouts, I was intentional about not pushing harder than I typically would. Whether I liked my numbers or not, I wanted to give her a reality check on where I was at. Several times she commented on my training log that now we know exactly where we're starting from. And we build from here.
It's the same with our fundraising efforts. This is hard stuff! If you've launched a nonprofit organization or run a successful campaign, you must have done several - in fact many - things right. Here are a few tips for getting comfortable and moving forward proudly from wherever you may be. Start from where you are….
- Be proud of what you've accomplished: A recent survey stated that 77% of the population hates fundraising, refuses to it and doesn't understand how the other 23% can stand it. You've already done something amazing!
- Take an inventory of your success: List out the top 5, 10, 25 (or whatever number you choose) donations you've gotten. Then write down how you won. In other words, what critical action steps did you take to get the donation? Best yet, if there were one or two winning moves that sealed the deal, what were they?
- Identify why you're winning: Are you seeing a pattern in what you're writing down? Most likely. Whether you're locking down donations with a final face-to-face ask, have a killer story that wraps up everything up in a neat package or an all-encompassing site visit, figure that out. You've got your winning formula. Stop thinking about it and start replicating it.
- Crunch the numbers: Ask yourself where you'd be if you could multiply each of your successes by using your winning formula by 2 (or 3, 4 or 5...dream big). What would that look like? Better yet, how would it feel? And finally
- Create your action plan: Now that you've realized that you've got this, look at #4 and put a plan in place. Three action steps are all it takes to get the ball rolling. Maybe it's a check-in call with your top donors, an introduction to a new prospect -whatever it takes. Just moving forward with an action plan for those top 10 donors means 30 action steps forward.
By now hopefully you’re seeing, where you’re at is amazing and inspiring!