It’s a topic we talk about often because it’s an integral part of the fundraising process: donations. There are a number of different types of donations, but today we’re going to focus on gifts or items for your auction. We’ve put together tips we’ve seen time and again over years of fundraising experience.
We all know the importance of organization in business, and fundraising is no different. Keep a detailed database of your potential and existing donors. If you don’t already have access to a CRM tool at your organization, there are a number of free services online. This may be something that would be useful to your organization year-round, so a paid CRM tool could be a smart investment. A CRM tool is helpful in keeping track of not only names and contact information, but also past donations and dates. You can quickly access past donors with a clear snapshot of exactly what and when they’ve donated. Which leads to the next point.
Retention is the #1 priority, so be sure to foster relationships with current donors. Adding new donors is important, but keep in contact with current donors as well. Regular, dependable donors cut down on time it takes to seek out and foster new donor relationships. Keep your donors connected and make them feel involved in your organization. Don’t be afraid to schmooze a little! Dependable donors like dependable representatives. If the donor is being contacted by someone new from the organization each year, it may point to a high turnover rate and make the donor question their involvement.
Donor Point of View
Be donor centric in your thinking! Look at the donation request from your donor’s point of view. Why would they want to get involved? Be sure your language is clear. Include a story, testimonial or example to make the request more relatable and for the donor to see where the money goes. Keep them engaged by reaching out to them periodically, inviting them to Board Meetings, and adding them to your newsletter list. Wondering how your past donors feel about their gift? You don’t have to guess what they’re thinking! We think it’s a great idea to send surveys to your donors each year to see how they feel about the entire process from solicitation, to the auction, to the follow-up. Always, always be transparent about where a gift or donation goes.
One of the common complaints heard from non-profits is that they’re so small it’s just one to three people responsible for the entire fundraising process and event. Don’t let that stop you! Make a volunteer group for your fundraiser. Post on social media, the organization’s website and reach out to your newsletter database that you’re looking for people who can give a couple hours a day or once a week to help in the fundraising process. Most of this can be done from home by the volunteer! Have a ten-minute development meeting once a week to connect. These volunteers might even go on to work at your organization or be on the Board. It creates a database of those close to the organization that you can, at the very least, call on for help when needed. If you can’t build a fundraising team of people, look for one person to be your accountability partner to help keep you motivated and focused during the fundraising process.
Whether you’re a small non-profit or large, you can do this! Reach out to utilize all your outlets. Having a hard time brainstorming who you know? Use this diagram to start mapping your contacts.