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PUT-THE-COFFEE-DOWN!! Coffee is for Fundraisers.

Posted on 12th November 2010 by Gray Digital
By Admin |November 12th, 2010

Of course that’s an adaptation of a now-legendary line that Alec Baldwin’s character delivers in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, but it seems appropriate for my next topic.

Who is responsible for fundraising in your organization?

Is it the Executive Director?  Is it the Development Director and her staff?

If you said everyone, move to the front of the class.  If not, you definitely need to put the coffee down.

You may even be thinking, “That’s NOT my job.”

That’s the problem.  And you’re organization is suffering for it because you are passing the buck–literally.  And that buck is going to some other worthy cause while your organization trudges on in relative anonymity.

Not that everyone is going to be writing grant proposals, hobnobbing with donors, or running a direct marketing campaign.  But everyone should be looking for opportunities within their daily work to find an avenue to bring in new funding.

Bottom line–Fundraising is everyone’s department.

At its most basic level, fundraisingis about making connections.  And almost everyone in the organization is connecting with the community in some capacity.  People don’t give to a cause unless they feel a connection.  Therefore, the best thing that you can do is to cultivate these connections.  But it’s impossible to build on connections that are overlooked as potential fund sources.

There may be opportunities hiding in plain site.

For starters, take a look at the daily work of your staff and volunteers.  Are there daily interactions with clients who use your services?  Does the program or service you provide often require interactions with not just your clients but their loved ones too?  Are there people, employers, or entire communities who indirectly benefit from the success of your organization?

The answers to these questions should lead you to a good list of potential donors.

The idea is to develop a system of tracking even the simplest contacts your organization makes.  That includes everyone.  Volunteers and staffers should be maintaining a log of every person with whom they interact.  A simple guest book or spreadsheet to record name, address, phone, and email.  Then that information must be placed routinely onto a database or spreadsheet.   This information is gold to the organization and should be treated as such.

Volunteers and staff interact daily with the public.  A volunteer handing out tourist maps and giving directions to visitors should be collecting names in a guest book.  A veteran immigration attorney for an NGO should be taking down the contact info of every family member, friend, and potential employer that has interest in his client’s immigration status.  These are all potential sources of funding.  Even your clients who may be penniless now can become your strongest advocates and supporters once they get on their feet.

These constituents can see the value of your work first hand.  They will want to donate.

Embrace the idea that fundraising is not just for the development staff.  Get everyone from the board to the volunteers thinking creatively about your organization’s direct and indirect connections to the community.  Train the staff and volunteers to convert seemingly small interactions with your constituents into contact-building opportunities.  Then go pour yourself some coffee.

Put the coffee down!

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