Does your nonprofit struggle to meet its annual fundraising goals? Too many nonprofits struggle year in, year out to secure sustainable long-term funding for their organization. The community around an organization’s cause is fundamental to its success. These communities are built on a web of intentional relationships, an intended purpose that produces positive results. Identify and target those intentional relationships in the community that can help connect to the underlying organizational goal. Ask yourself these three questions:
Intentional relationships take regular effort, and especially with donors it is vital to establish a strong bond. Many nonprofits are immersed in other organizational tasks and they don’t adequately maintain relationships with donors. One-time supporters are the end result.
To achieve the goal of recurring, regular supporters, make sure to learn about their goals and objectives right from the beginning. Listen to the prospective donors and understand them before going into detail about the underlying goals of the organization. Encourage the board to eliminate the word “I am” from their vocabulary when it comes to building profitable relationships. This is the time to invite the donor to share his/her story; the story being their experiences with yours and other non-profits. A great example, nonprofitquarterly.org listed a series of potential questions to ask donors such as: their interests and disinterests, their feelings about the cause, their hopes and dreams, and why they give. This stage is concluded when you have established contact and initiated a relationship.
After you have initiated the relationship, organize a presentation for the organization to explain the investment. Successful relationships mean, hopefully, many years of future collaboration. Face-to-face meetings allows you to establish trust, here you would want them to get a feel for the organization and its culture. The middle of a relationship is the most active; be persistent with your efforts. Always bring something to the table and keep communication open at all times. Even if your potential relationships don’t end up donating right away keep them as potential business contacts for the future. If you believe them to be valuable to the organization, keep them close; they could become a source of information and industry advice. Relationships are the fuel that feed the success of your business; don’t let there be an end to any relationship. Remember to always give more than you receive.
“GuideStar gathers and disseminates information about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organization. They provide as much information as they can about each nonprofit’s mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance, and so much more.” GuideStar created a checklist for creating a proactive-relationship development process that we believe will expand our view on the importance of building intentional relationships to expedite fundraising efforts. Read it here!
Donors are actively seeking organizations that they feel are most connected with their story. Make the prospect feel an emotional connection to your work.