29 Jul Full fund development cycle
What is the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word marketing? Maybe it’s the Nike swoosh, or a commercial showcasing a new iPhone. Is this really what marketing is all about? Far too often, the scope of what marketing is limited to just these flashy pieces. To put it another way, marketing is not about the icing on the cake. Marketing is more about whether we should even serve cake, or instead cupcakes or maybe fruit?
Far too often what is left out of the conversation is a strategic perspective, plan and approach to marketing. Good marketing is having an idea, bringing it back to the team and figuring out with the rest of the organization how to take this idea out to the world. Marketing needs to be a strategic exercise in your organization that asks more than just what the logo looks like or what the website layout is. The conversation should speak to vision, direction, and engagement and then about what to actually do or in other words, decorating the cake.
This series of postings will take a closer look at topics to consider when building more effective and engaging marketing, communications and fund development plans.
How many times have you heard the phrase, “We don’t have enough money, we need to raise more!” One of the biggest challenges facing non-profits is fund development and in the final post in this four-part series, we will take a closer look at how to better improve the results of your efforts by refocusing and being patient.
Time Well Spent
There are many versions of the fund development cycle illustrated above but what we see most with non-profit organizations is that very little time is spent in the cultivating and steward phases. Instead, the most time is spent identify possible donors or in other words, who should we ask for money. It doesn’t work this way. More time needs to be put in building relationships, engaging with potential donors and getting them excited about your organization, your programs and your recipients.
Once the donor is involved with your organization, time needs to be spent on stewardship – thanking donors for their involvement, including donors in organizational activities and events and more. This needs to be more than a thank you note – keep them engaged, up to date, and make them a part of the program delivery.
We need more names – once we have them, lets ask for a donation. The time spent doing this can be a waste. Far to often we see organizations ask for a donation to soon. The result? Money left on the table. Ask yourself and your team, how much time is spent getting your donors engaged and involved before an ask is made. Take the time to build a relationship with a potential donor by inviting them to events, introducing them to the staff team, let them interact with program recipients. If we put a bit more energy and effort into cultivating efforts – more money can be gained in the long term.
More Than A Thank You Note
How often do you follow up with your donors with a simple thank you note or with an appreciation event? Is it enough? When considering steward activities, think about how you engage with your donors and how you involve them with your organization post donation before asking for money again. The same can be said about fundraising events; although essential, rethink how you approach them. Be patient and be strategic about how you ask. Get your donors to feel engaged and involved rather than just satisfied with a minimum investment.
Create an Experience
Consider experiential activities with your donors such as facility tours, personalized thank you notes from program participants, or offering family/staff volunteer experiences. Steward and cultivating activities are very similar but by planning, you can help to maximize engagement with donors and improve the overall outcome of fund development activities. If you can, explore perusing less donors and creating bigger engagements with the donors you have –this will be easier to manage in the long run as well.
That’s A Wrap
We hope this series helped shed some insight into building more effective and engaging marketing, communications and fund development plans. Remember, marketing needs to be a strategic activity not a tactical activity. In other words, it needs to be thinking work not doing work.
Are you looking for support with your fund development strategy? Connect with our team of experts to get started today.
About the Author
In his role of Principal, Jesse Meyer works with clients to solve challenging problems and generate revenues, drawing from over 10 years of marketing, branding, strategic planning and stakeholder relations experience in the public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. He has spearheaded effective organizational change, operational excellence and innovation by working collaboratively with stakeholders to build the foundation, structures and processes for long-term success.