Stop Leaving Money on the Table With These 5 Tips

Fundraising
July 11, 2017

It starts with you.

All superheroes have their flaws. While you may not struggle with images of flying nocturnal creatures – understanding, embracing, and addressing your shortcomings is key to your long term success. While FundHero can keep you organized and nag you to follow through, it’s up to you to be the hero. In short, we’re just the sidekick, you’re the hero, and it all starts with you.

To help you recognize your blind spots, here are the five most common ways organizations and campaigns leave money on the table.

 

1. Track Donor Pledges

The easiest money to raise is the money that people have already said they’d give you!

Far too many non-profits and political campaigns do not closely track who has pledged to make a donation (or how much), nor do they have a system in place to follow up and collect those pledges. Yes, unfortunately, it is true that not all pledges will turn into donations, but generally, organizations can expect 80% or more of hard pledges to eventually become cash in the bank.

 

2. Follow-up

At the end of the day, fundraising is sales and a good salesperson always follows up.

Sometimes a request for follow-up is explicit, like when someone tells you to call again in 2 weeks. Often it more subtle, like someone handing you a business card.

Keeping yourself organized and not losing a single lead is critical to meeting and exceeding your fundraising goals. (And in a shameless plug, FundHero can help!).

 

3. Thank Donors Promptly and Personally

The best and most likely people to support your organization are those who have already supported you before.

Unfortunately, many organizations only retain 40% or fewer of their previous donors year after year. Do you think Pepper Potts would tolerate just 40% of her previous customers coming back?!

The most successful and most important way to keep your donors and ensure they give again is to send a thank you note within 7 days of the donation.

While FundHero also encourages automated thank you emails or text messages for online donations, there is no replacement for the hand-signed snail mail note.

 

4. Be Consistent in Your Communication

We live in a sea of marketing, and getting recognized means your organization must constantly fight to get yourself in front of your supporters.

Sure, there are those times when a portal to Earth Two opens up and you can seize the crisis to attract attention as you beat back Zoom, but those opportunities are rare.

Successful communications programs are like a bass drum, consistently delivering your message to your supporters in regular intervals that keeps you relevant. Sometimes they may not notice it, but then when the opportunity comes to hit the crash cymbal, your supporters are ready to hear from you and want to hear what you are about to say.

 

5. Make Hard Asks

Successful fundraisers always ask for specific amounts.

Like every industry, dollars raised through fundraising are earned. Too many organizations and political candidates are timid in their asks, and just hope someone will donate when asked to contribute. Make sure you are always asking for a specific amount. It helps frame the ask for the potential donor and hard asks/pledges are significantly more likely to turn into a cash contribution.

Matt Lyon
Matt’s experience includes overseeing up to fourteen staff members, administering budgets exceeding $1.1 million annually, directing million dollar paid media programs, raising over $5 million for various causes and organizations, and developing and implementing communications strategies that led to dozens of stories in local and national outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
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