Monday, April 28, 2008

New column every Monday--"The Fundraising Guru," April 28, 2008

“How to raise money in bad times”—for FREE!

When the economy in general is in a funk, nonprofits tend to sing the “woe-is-me” chorus, along with everyone else. But never try to raise money in “bad” times by telling potential donors that’s the reason you’re asking for support. The reason should be obvious: Everyone’s saying it.

Fortunes are made in “bad” times and lost in “good" times. The “times” don’t make your success: You do. So, use the “bad” times to prove to donors and potential donors that you have been and continue to be worthy of their support—a wise investment.

Here are 5 Formulas to make your fundraising successful in “bad” times—for FREE, without your having to spend an extra penny:

1. B x 10 = FT (Energize your board)
--Too many nonprofits have dead wood boards of directors. Use “bad” times to energize your board. Get rid of people who are holding you back. Add dynamos. In the formula B x 10 = FT, B stands for board and FT is your fundraising threshold. Get each of your board members to commit to raising 10 times the amount they personally contribute to your nonprofit. Get their commitments in writing.

2. 1 x 10 = 110 (Create your “circle of 10”)
--The key to successful fundraising is getting doors to key people opened for you. Create a “Circle of 10,” an informal group of advisors who are willing to help you increase your fundraising success—especially by getting you to at least 10 others like themselves: for example, a lawyer specializing in wills and estates, a financial planner, an accountant.

3. 1 x 5 = 6 (Create a tsunami)
--Create a positive tsunami—a marketable idea so compelling donors can’t resist making a contribution.
--The 5 elements of a tsunami/marketing idea are: it is gut-wrenching, turns a negative trend positive, seems doable, makes financial sense, and is measurable.

4. 1 + 1 = 3 (Create desire)
--People always have money for what they want to have money for. But you have to give them “their” reason. That may mean different things for different people. So, be prepared to “read” prospective donors and to vary your approaches.

5. 1 x 365 = $365,000 (Set word-of-mouth in motion)
-- Fundraising is selling—and selling is a numbers game: The more people you reach, the greater your sales. Make sure that people know what they’re “selling.”
--Get people to commit to doing the outrageous—telling at least one other person something positive about your nonprofit every day, 365 days a year.