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Allyson Kapin 6 min read

New Guiding Principles for Fundraising

New Guiding Principles for Fundraising

What are the new guiding principles to fundraising? According to Mal Warwick, a respected fundraising consultant and thought leader in the nonprofit world, nonprofits need to stop thinking in terms of fundraising silos (monthly donors, one time donors, etc) and start looking at fundraising from a holistic perspective. During the 2010 IFC Online Conference, Warwick discussed his four guiding principles that nonprofits should adapt as part of their fundraising practices.

Principle 1: Donor Choice

Nonprofits must recognize that no single channel will bring in the big bucks. Donors want choices so nonprofits should be using multiple channels to connect with supporters through email appeals, telemarketing, direct mail, etc. Multi-channel fundraising will raise the most amount of money for nonprofits.

Principle 2: Provide Information

Tell donors what they want to know, not what you want them to know.  This was one of my favorite take-aways from the presentation and a critical point that many nonprofits often miss. Staff is typically so focused on getting their own agenda out to supporters, that they forget to share what’s really going on with the organization – its successes and yes even its failures. “Level with them,” said Warwick.

Posting annual reports is also important to committed donors who want to look at the organizations budget, staff, and Board of Directors. Don’t make annual reports hard for your donors to find.

Is your nonprofit tracking your donors’ gifts and involvement with the organization? If not, start now. You should have a snapshot of each of your donors at your fingertips and be able to share their personal info with them.

Principle 3: Engagement is Key

How much time do you spend on developing engagement strategies for your donors or prospects? For example, did you know that having a strong volunteer program could have a positive impact on your fundraising efforts? Why? Because volunteers are 3x more likely to donate money to charity. On the flip side, a poorly run volunteer program could hurt your fundraising.

Nonprofits should always be thinking about reinforcing relationships with their donors. Online advocacy is an inexpensive way to help achieve this by involving supporters in your organizations advocacy work, and recruiting new supporters, said Warwick.

How often does your nonprofit consult its donors? “If you want money, ask for advice,” said Warwick. Solicit their feedback and opinions by phone, email, etc.

Another great engagement tactic that organizations don’t utilize enough is giving donors access to staff and yes at times even the Board of Directors. Encouraging donors to engage with these key people shows donors that their support is truly valued and can have a big impact on word of mouth marketing.

Check out part two of this series in New Guiding Principles for Fundraising where we discuss deepening supporters commitment to your nonprofit.

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Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.