Fundraising is a cycle that includes several phases in the process of recruiting and retaining donors. It involves acquiring people who will share your vision and mission and will partner with you in your cause and advocacy.
Identifying Prospective Donors
The fundraising cycle starts with identifying prospective donors who can donate their time, talent, or treasure to the non-profit organization. For those new to fundraising, the useful tool to use in identifying potential donors is a constituency map. List people in concentric circles starting with the nucleus composed of people closest to you organization such as board members, major donors, and management. The next circle will consist of those with affinity with you such as employees, members, clients, volunteers. On the fringe, list people within your geographic location. Include in this list former members, board members and donors. Prospect research is essential in developing donors.
Qualifying Potential Donors
Qualify your list using the 3 C’s: connection, capability, and concern. Connection refers to how people are connected with your organization. Capability is their ability to give and at what level. Concern is based on their interests, needs, and passion. You want to look for people who will share your mission and vision who can partner you over the long haul.
Cultivating Your Prospects
There are several ways to cultivate your prospects. Invite them to your events, provide entry level opportunities for them to get involved in your organization such as volunteering in community projects. Give them sufficient information about your mission and programs. The idea is to get people to know you and what you do and engage them for involvement and commitment as you grow in your relationship with them.
Soliciting Your Prospects
A cultivated prospect is ready for solicitation. There are casual donors who will respond to appeals for various causes or advocacies. Then there are project donors who want to contribute to specific projects. There are potential major donors capable of giving big amount. Do your prospect research to know the heart of the donor and the possible motivation for giving. It is always good practice to find out as much information as you can about a prospective donor to help you connect with their interests and to ask for the right amount according to their capability to give.
Sustaining Your Growing Relationship
It is easier to keep a customer than to recruit a new one. This marketplace dictum is also applicable in fundraising. Your goal is to sustain and grow your relationship with donors. You want to keep them involved and committed to your vision and mission. Donor retention does not happen accidentally but it must be intentional.
The difference between traditional fundraising with Christian fundraising is our desire to grow givers who are rich towards God.
We are not only interested in the financial contribution donors bring but we must be concerned that they are growing in the way they relate to their resources in a godly way. We should model biblical stewardship, giving and generous living to our donors.