Hats Off For Fundraising

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Too much on the fundraising to-do list? Hand off some hats.

hats off
Hats are nice. They keep our heads warm and cover up bad hair days. But when we wear too many of them–as is the case for many leaders of nonprofit organizations–we feel harried and ineffective. Instead of another hat, we’d like some help, please! Here are some ways to hand off a hat or two and share the fundraising responsibilities.

Hand off your party hat.

Planning a fundraiser can take over your life, but chances are good that someone on your board or among your cadre of volunteers has experience planning parties and events. If so, recruit them to plan your next fundraiser. Provide a budget and recruit other volunteers to assist them. Keep tabs on progress through weekly check-ins by phone or in person. Or, forego a fundraising event altogether and put those funds toward a comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Hand off your writer’s beret.

When you are pulled in so many directions, finding an hour to plunge into penning a fundraising letter can be near impossible. Here are a couple of tactics to try. Jot down an outline of points to cover in your fund-raising letter, and pass the outline and the task of letter writing to someone who is a skilled writer, perhaps a retired educator on your board. Or, spend 15 minutes with a professional writer, in person or on the phone, and explain what you need to communicate in your letter. It could be well worth your time to hire a professional to write your letters because strategically composed funding requests do pay off in increased gifts. But before you commit to a professional writer or communications firm, call previous clients and ask for an evaluation of their letters’ effectiveness.

Hand off your newsboy cap.

Your nonprofit needs to tell its story well and in many ways, and you can’t be its lone voice. Once or twice a year, invite your board to dinner–it can be as simple as pizza– and as an after-dinner activity, ask them to spend a couple of hours of making calls to loyal donors to thank them and update them on the organization’s work. It might also be wise to hire a professional communications company to come up with a communications plan that encompasses social media, direct mail and person-to-person communication. Too many nonprofits only contact their supporters when they need donations. A comprehensive communications plan can educate, inform and thank them. If you don’t have a big budget, you can pick out aspects of the plan that you and your volunteers can handle and turn the rest over to the communications firm.

See more tips for successful fundraising in our white paper “Your Guide to Successful Fundraising.”


Julie Thomas

Business Development

January 25, 2016

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