5 Tips to Conquer Fundraising Fear
Has anyone out there had trouble getting volunteers? Do you know anyone who has a case of “fundraising fear”? Gail Perry is in the top 10 of the 30 most effective fundraising specialists in the U.S. After perusing her blog I’ve distilled her advice on boards into 5 tips.
1. Make sure every board member/volunteer knows exactly what you want to accomplish.
You’ve got ambitious fundraising goals; be specific and crunch the numbers. How many new people do you want to support this year? How many new hires will that take? How much will it cost?
Avoid goals that aren’t measurable. Anything that includes the phrase “as much as possible” is a Death Star waiting to happen. No one wants to be involved with a black hole project that becomes all consuming. Tell people what to expect so they can adjust accordingly. If people say no to a project, that’s okay too. Working with someone that couldn’t do the job in the first place is only going to add to your work pile, not reduce it.
Dream big, but with a target; the brighter and more visible the target, the better your results!
2. Communicate impact.
What can your board members take from this project and be proud of? What will be their legacy? Explain it in terms of the ultimate benefit they are providing the community. By communicating a strong vision, you have the opportunity to demonstrate importance and how each person is vital to a project as a whole.
3. Have a strategic plan.
Plan out what each individual is responsible for, how much time the tasks should take, and a timeline with due dates. Use what you know to your advantage. When assigning responsibility in your proposal, team skills and personalities together. Introduce the concept of friendraising and why it works better than fundraising!
Include a contingency plan in case you hit bumps in the road.
Get your team on the same page and read the fundamentals of fundraising.
4. Keep in touch, especially when you’re winning!
All is going according to plan, your fundraising goals are being met, money is flowing in, and it looks like your plan of action is now a reality. Share the love and be liberal about it because good news stimulates momentum!
Not all board members will be able to contribute the same amount of time or investment and that’s OK- every little bit helps! Make sure that each person’s efforts for their contribution is acknowledged in a way that matters to them. Be consistent and recognize people as their individual goals are met, not just at the end of the project. Recognition doesn’t have to be costly; a simple thank-you can go the distance, but don’t forget to add a personal touch.
5. Respect your board as volunteers.
Offer training, support, and a great experience. No one is a fundraising superstar their first kick at the can. Find their interests and tap into their high achieving potential. As Gail says, “drawing a board member into happy action is an art!” Embrace that you will take action and cultivate your board.
Try these tips and fire up that board! I researched these steps at Gail’s website, Fired Up Fundraising, which is full of insightful fundraising strategies. Specific articles I recommend are:
- What’s the Math? 3 Questions Your Board Members Really Need to Know
- Powerful Elevator Speech Exercise for Your Board Members
- Unleash Your Board Members’ Energy for Fundraising
- The Myths and Realities of Board Members and Fundraising
- Top 10 Things to Understand About How Fundraising Really Works Today
If you have any tips to add to the list, please post a comment below.
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