Fundraising: Is it more about people and trust or technique?
Not surprisingly, but interestingly enough, the question of what fundraising is about was a conversation that came up in one form or another at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Fundraising Convention in London earlier this month.
To us, this question cannot be answered with an “either or.” Fundraising is absolutely about choosing the right people and building trust. But fundraising is also about strategy and technique — each piece is equally important if you want your program to be successful.
The first step is to share your organisation’s need and establish trust. But once you do this, you have to do something more with the relationship… it has to be nurtured. This idea seems simple enough, but how can you do that without tactics and techniques?
Having a strategy that includes the best techniques for finding and engaging with your current, lapsed, and prospective donors is the foundation — you need to take not only that first step, but also all the steps that come after. This creates opportunities for continuing to communicate with your donors, establishing that trust and developing the relationships you need to sustain them.
A strategy that engages donors in the right way and at the right time is the only way to cultivate and build the long-term relationships that every organisation wants and needs.
Here are five ideas we’ve implemented to support donor cultivation, keeping the importance of building trust in mind:
1. Give a little recognition. Establishing a donor recognition program allows you to cultivate new donors so they remain faithful to your cause, paving a path for them to transition to multi-givers while also deepening long-term relationships with your regular (sustained/monthly) givers.
2. Extend a warm welcome. Create a welcome package as a response to both online and offline appeals, sending it to both new donors and past donors who have been reactivated after a long time.
3. Bring on the personalisation. Previous donors who have not given in more than 24 months often respond well to extra efforts such as personalised copy that specifically mentions their past giving.
4. Test, test, test. It has been our experience that testing a symbolic ask within your direct mail and online programs will not only help lift response from the prospective and lapsed donor pools, but can also be used throughout the appeal series to help lift the average gifts and response rates.
5. Get matchy matchy. When you incorporate a matching gift program, large individual, government, or corporate donors will match the donations of individual donors. Often this doubles, triples, or quadruples the amount of the original gift. We have seen matches for up to seven times the original gift!
After reading these ideas, would you say fundraising is more about people and trust or more about technique? Or do you agree that it is a perfect balance of both?
Nexus Direct is an internationally recognised fundraising agency specialising in donor engagement, from building awareness to relationship cultivation, growing revenue as it has for many NGOs, large and small! Our passion for philanthropy combined with our strategic approach will compel your donors to engage, from their first gift forward. Our ideas will transform your fundraising programme, resulting in higher income, more donors, and increased awareness.