If you have concerns about your ability as a leader in your organization to raise significant funds to advance your mission, you have a lot of company. You are like many other leaders who struggle at times with this important and challenging responsibility.
There are two concepts we have found to be very helpful to the leaders and organizations we work with:
- “Friendraising” before fund raising
- The magic of the word consider
“Friendraising” reminds us that relationships are critical for any successful fundraising program. We need to understand the hopes and priorities, concerns and questions of potential donors. This requires some deep listening on our part and an investment of time to build that relationship. It is most effective when our approach to donors treats them as friends of the organization rather than as clients or just sources of new funding.
The magic word “consider” injects a tone of respect into our contact with donors. Rather than asking, “Would you give us a major gift for this important project?” you can say, “Would you consider providing a major gift for this important project?” The first question is more cut and dried and lends itself more easily to a quick no than the second question. When you use the word consider, you acknowledge that there is a decision involved that takes some of the donor’s valuable time.
The two concepts can work together very powerfully. In fact, our experience is that the more you focus on friendraising, the more people answer yes to that magic word consider.