Fundraising RX

Prescriptions for fundraising success

This is a new series from AC Fitzgerald, addressing many of the most common issues we see everyday in our fundraising work. We’d love to hear what you think, and if you’re facing these issues, we’d love to help you find your solution!

DONOR UPGRADES

AILMENT

“Our major donors’ support has plateaued. We think it’s a combination of the economy and ‘donor fatigue.’ How do we encourage them to go to the next level?”

SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE

  • Your donors are giving much larger gifts to other organizations
  • Long-time donors are slow to renew their support for the year
  • You’re having trouble getting meetings
  • Donors with high capacity are investing at a low level

POSSIBLE CAUSES

  • “Fundraiser Fatigue”: You haven’t refreshed your case for support and developed a compelling reason for donors to give more
  • Donor gratitude and communication aren’t happening enough
  • Donors don’t think you need the money
  • Donors don’t see or understand the impact you have had
  • Donors have a perception of your organization that is out of date
  • Donors’ Interests have changed.
  • You have new competition and haven’t delineated your unique identifiers

THE CURE

  • Refresh your case for support. Don’t be so quick to blame the “donor” for the “fatigue”. Review your vision statement. Consider what makes your work relevant and urgent still today.
  • Audit your donor gratitude and communication. Are you thanking and connecting with donors seven times for each time you ask? Do they know how much you value them and still need their support?
  • Go on a listening tour. Meet with your most loyal donors to better understand their impressions of your organization and leadership.
  • Prepare a competitive analysis. Review your organization assets and competitive advantages.
  • Talk to your board. Ask members what they value about your organization. Encourage them to challenge your assumptions about the direction of the organization.
  • Share impact. Review all donor communications. How well are you telling your story?
  • Re-introduce the organization. Share statistics that show growth in programs, revenue, donors, and impact.
  • Consider a capacity-building campaign. This is a serious endeavor, but the effort might inject new life into your programs and inspire donors to new levels.
  • Consider taking a break. Get out of the office and get perspective. Burn out is real. You need to be at the top of your game to do all these things and, ultimately, to inspire others.