This past week I learned about the joys of cleaning with apple cider vinegar. With all of the cleaning product choices on the shelves it can get a bit overwhelming. There’s something for the bathroom mirror, another for the bathroom floor, another for wood floors, another for kitchen counters, etc. etc. But I had read somewhere that vinegar is a great multipurpose cleaning solution (but I don’t like the smell, so tried apple cider vinegar instead). The results were great. My counters were shiny, it got the smudge prints off the doors and even got a mixture of hairspray and powder off my bathroom vanity without much effort.
All that to say, in this age, we have so many options to accomplish just about anything. But the truth is, that many times it can be overkill to purchase different solutions, when going back to the basics can be just as (if not more) effective.
So as you plan your fund raising strategies for this year, keep in mind these five basics:
- People give to people. Build relationships with your supporters in ways that they find meaningful. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask.
- Thank people for their gifts. In this age when we hardly ever receive hand written notes, a hand written thank you card will be noticed. It doesn’t need to be fancy. A thank you call from a board member can go a long way also (plus it gives board members a way to be involved in fund raising without having to make an ask).
- Make your own gift first. If you will be asking others for donations, please make your own gift first. If you don’t believe in the cause enough to make a gift, it will be very difficult for you to convince others of the importance of the cause. (I’m tempted to do a survey of fund raising professionals to find out what percentage of their income they give to charitable organizations, but I’m a little afraid of what the results might tell us).
- Communicate. People won’t give if they don’t know that there is a need. So find creative, low-cost, low-effort ways to communicate your message about (a) the great work that you do, (b) the vision you have for a better future for your constituents and (c) that you need their help to make that future happen.
- Create advocates. If your fund raising efforts are limited to those who have the title of ‘fundraiser’ then your results will also be limited. Advocates could include board members, staff, volunteers and anyone else who is connected with your organization. Their job is to help communicate the message outlined in point 4, to encourage them to become involved (if appropriate) and to connect them to the organization to become involved in whatever way they see best. That might mean volunteering, donating in-kind items or supporting the organization with a cash donation.
These are my thoughts. What are yours?