Recently, I was asked by Reflection Films to discuss how fundraisers can be more efficient and improve their odds for success. The results follow.
Q. How should busy fundraising professionals spend their time for maximum return?
A. It will vary a little by industry sector, but a fundraiser can never go wrong by spending more time deepening relationships with existing donors. A nonprofit organization must continually acquire new donors to offset those that leave the area, die off, etc., but the bulk of fundraising dollars will come from existing donors. So we need to deepen our relationships with them and our organization’s mission to increase the size of their gifts.
That said, I would recommend doing a good job in a few areas of fundraising concentration, such as major gifts and direct mail appeals, or foundation grants and special events, rather than trying to do everything without enough staff capacity. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to ask for money.