Fundraising is hard: period.
Board members frequently cringe when faced with the prospect of raising money, development directors can face employment churn if they don’t raise enough fast enough; ongoing fundraising is front and center for virtually everyone in nonprofit management and leadership.
Figuring out what prospects and donors need to see and hear on an ongoing basis requires thoughtful and focused attention. Creating a pitch that is succinct, compelling and engaging, then sending it out to the right people via the right channels is a big chunk of work. These communications are essential to your fundraising and messaging and must be done right.
The secret to the shortcut is that there are no shortcuts: there is no way to do a good job without putting in the hard work.
Blogs, webinars, seminars and posts tell us all day how we can do better:
- at speaking to and with our donors;
- communicating the work we do via the many channels of media;
- keep up with the accelerating pace of technology advances to better connect with them. What, you are not on Snapchat or Instagram, or Tumblr or Periscope or Vine?
Better make sure your thank you notes are sincere and hand signed; you had better remember why that woman showed up at your event so you can customize your emails to her later.
The internet thinks it can be really helpful as well; here are just a few titles from my inbox:*
- 20 Must-Know Facebook Stats
- 16 Writing Tools for Social Media Marketers
- 11 Little-Known Facebook Marketing Features You Can Try Today
- 4 Donation Page Tips You Can Bet Big Money On
- 23 Better Alternatives to the “Just Checking In” Email
- 36 Useful Apps & Online Tools for Nonprofits
- 25 Must-Read Nonprofit IT Blogs 2016
- 6 Email Marketing Metrics You Should Be Tracking
- 20 Best Nonprofit Websites
With the best intentions, each of these authors want to help you cut through the clutter to let you use your time and energy wisely and profitably. It’s human nature to look for magic bullet solutions to common problems, but this may not always serve you in the long run.
* these links are live, if you want to check any of them out……and some really are helpful.
Shortcuts & Hacks
Shortcuts can help you type faster, clean out your email inbox, or figure out the quickest way to the freeway. These shortcuts are about efficiency and working smart. But as the “ hacking” concept is becoming more popular, many use this as an opportunity to peddle shortcut methods for skipping work or “getting rich quick” in place of actual effort. In this age of efficiency, hacks and shortcuts are given more attention than they warrant and offer less help than they promise.
Doing things faster and more superficially can be mistaken for not doing some things at all.
In the short term, it is possible that some of these shortcuts and hacks can provide a return. But in the long run, it is not sustainable as there is no solid substance or behavior supporting the short cut. Without a clear structure and plan, those first good results will not offer you long term results; the plan based on the shortcut will ultimately fail.
Why The Attitude Toward Hard Work? Be Proud of Your Effort
When you’re always looking for shortcuts, what you are saying is you have a basic contempt for the actual work; who loves doing stuff they hate? That will affect your attitude and approach and the feelings about the work you are doing to those around you.
Hard work is not a bad thing, or a negative thing. For sure we don’t want to work harder than necessary, work dumb or inefficiently, but there is great pride and achievement in hard work. Diminishing it at the outset by seeking go-arounds does not set you up for joy and sense of accomplishment.
Important things that are worth doing are worth doing right. Understand the theory underpinning why you do what you do; understand that success is so very rarely overnight- ask some of those ‘overnight sensations’ that spent 15 years behind the scenes preparing. Do the homework, write things down, keep track. It all pays off in the end.
The idea that you can realize your wildest dreams without a significant investment of brain, heart, time and tears, is ridiculous. You can’t get more from your life by doing less. Fundraising is no different.
Employing too many hacks and shortcuts cheats you out of really knowing your work, knowing what works and how. It cheats you out of knowing what doesn’t work, and what do avoid.
Success, whether in fundraising or anything else, takes dedication and hard work. Its is sweat equity. Own yours, do the work.
To begin, start at the beginning:
- Decide what you want: sales, memberships, donations, partners? How many and how much?
- Plan the work needed to get your stated goal. Write it down.
- Work the plan: daily, weekly, monthly quarterly, annually. Be specific, keep records.
- What worked, what didn’t? What do you want to do again, what might work better next time?
Stay True to Your Mission:
- Stay in motion
- Ask for help
- Don’t give in
- Don’t give up
Yes, it is hard, and shortcuts may not really help, why not create a fundraising plan that reflects and honors the work of your organization and its members? You have the inspiration, we can assist with the engineering. Do call……310 828 6979
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