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It’s Dangerous to Fundraise Alone…Take This!

Listen. I hate to be the one to remind you – but there are 121 days left in the 2022.

4 months.

I’m not sure the musical RENT had a song for how many minutes one quarter of a year is, and I’m really bad at math – and don’t have the patience to sit here and count them up…

…but it’s not a lot.

Which means your end of year fundraising plan should be rolling out…like now.

What? You don’t have one? You’re still working on events, trying to decide when your appeal will be mailed and JUST running lists from businesses or folks you haven’t heard from since last year?

Ok. We need to talk.

I know it might feel like you are running on empty. I know you might see that financial goals your board put in front of you at the beginning of the year seem so far away from being actually reached that you have the thought “Ah, screw it. this is impossible.” running through your brain.

I know you might not have a fully flushed out game plan and are currently trying to throw EVERYTHING at the wall to see if some message, or call to action, or newsworthy thing your program or service accomplished recently will be the spark that gets folks to pay attention to your nonprofit and be inspired to give as generously as they ever have.

And though I can’t encourage you enough to have hope…

…Hope isn’t a fundraising strategy.

But you know what is?

Actionable items that move the needle forward. Things you can do today to make your donors remember how great giving to your organization feels. Things that are simple that don’t take months to create, build and roll out.

You need immediate and tangible steps. And may I also suggest an accountabilibuddy or two to help push you a long? Ok. Good I just did.

If you’re stuck. I got you. Here are THREE things you can do this week to help you get out of your fundraising rut.

1. Phone a Friend

When looking at the laundry list of individuals you have on your caseload, or have a “oh crap, we haven’t spoken to this donor in forever and I don’t know how mad they will be because we totally forgot about thanking them a while back” moment – it can be damn near impossible to just take the FIRST step in picking up the phone.

We sometimes get frozen on what COULD happen when we connect with a donor, rather seeing the big picture of making sure we are touchpoint crazy leading up to the end of the year.

Try this.

Call someone who you KNOW is friendly, personable and loves your organization more than anything.

A quick chat with one of your most ardent supporters will wash all the nervousness and anxiousness away before you start hitting your most pressing calls. They will talk you up, remind you of how awesome your organization is, and what a true “super fan” sounds like.

And if you get through a handful of phone calls and they aren’t feeling as amazing as they should – find another individual who just gets you – and connect with them. Use your favorite humans as a reenergizing boost of positivity to push you through your call list.

Soon enough you’ll find a rhythm and pace that has you bopping between groups of folks who you know, don’t know and who you’d like to know without any fear of “what they might say” creeping up in the back of your brain!

2. Get coffee…and lots of it

Sometimes getting out of your office and heading to the coffee shop you totally frequented before life got too crazy and made you think that sitting behind a screen was a better use of your time than being the social butterfly you were born to be, is a great way to spark enthusiasm for your donor interaction you have to get done.

Plus, a good cup of coffee or fully loaded sugary drink can give you that spark of inspiration (that, or early onset diabetes) to move the needle forward.

First off, you’re probably going to run in to someone you know there. Coffee shops are busy, and not at all conducive to work productivity, but sure as hell is effective to be “seen” by movers and shakers. Once you see someone you know, they are likely to ask “what’s new” or “what have you been up to?” and then you have your elevator pitch all ready to go! POOF! Instant networking!

Second, you’ll more than likely be told about what great work you and your organization does for the community. And, along with the sugar high, we fundraising folks usually get a kick out of being told we do awesome things. That’s two types of drugs for the price of walking to a coffee shop!

Third, you get out of your own head when you’re forced to be social in a setting that doesn’t allow you to go into pure “Turtle Mode” in front of a screen. You can’t think about what emails you are missing when someone is interacting with you and listing off amazing connections, listing reasons they would be a good fit for your organization or rattling off a list of names of folks you should be in contact with.

It’s a win-win-win-all-the-win situation!

3. Use This Framework

Ok, enough philosophical idea generation for you. Let’s give you tools to rock this.

For a few years, we’ve been teaching and coaching nonprofits all over this little fundraising “life hack” that helps fundraising focus up in as little as 20 minutes a day.

Did I make this because we all now have the attention span of gnats?


Does it coincidentally help individuals who are fundraisers have the attention span of gnats?

You bet!

As a companion piece to Fundraise Awesomer – I wanted to create a calendar to print out, tape next to your desk for an at-a-glance task and to-do for the day!

Need an example?

Today is Thursday. What are Thursdays for? Appreciating! That’s right!

So what can you do today?

Ok, here’s your task.

Think about what big win you had recently at your nonprofit. Did a program go over well? Did you get funded by a grant? Was your recent event a success? Did a client achieve something awesome?

Now that you have your big win – pick up the phone.

Heck, we literally talked about that in item #1.

Call 5 donors today…and talk to them about your success. They had a part in helping you achieve it by supporting, cheerleading, or donating right? Well then they need to know what their gift of time, talent and treasure did for the community they love to support!

There! You did it! Cross that day off the calendar and look forward to tomorrow. Because now you have an individual action plan that caters to the chaos of your fundraising life…and yet moves the needle forward when it comes to building donor relationships for your end of year ask.

Simple? Hell yes.

Doable? You know it!

Don’t get overwhelmed gang – get a process that works in a timeframe that is beneficial to you!

You got this!



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