A Personal Journey to Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management Part 2 of 8: Resource Development
Ready for the second act? If you missed part one. Here’s the quick recap. I’m embarking on getting a Certificate of Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management by the Society for Nonprofits and Michigan State University. Sharing my learnings along my education journey, so together we can better support mission-driven organizations help people live healthier and happier lives.
My second course was on resource development, which is techniques for acquiring new donors to broaden your base of support as well as exploring strategies for renewing or upgrading donor support.
Here are the top four lessons I learned:
- Know Thy Giver. To determine if a prospect will become a donor, it is critical to take the time to do your research. Is the prospect financially qualified? Do their interests match the priorities of the organization? What are their reasons to give? People tend to make decisions to donate based on values and benefits.
- It Takes a Village. Cultivating donors isn’t the job of one person. An organization’s board, leadership and staff are all critical to the success of funding. Board members should make a personal commitment and assist in major gift prospects. Leadership and all staff need to be part of the resource activities and implementation to cultivate and solicit different markets.
- Face-to-Face. Just like when it comes to business transactions, cultivating and retaining donors is about building mutually-beneficial relationships with one another. Nothing is more essential to relationships, especially in our digital world, than creating opportunities to meet face-to-face. For nonprofit organizations, formal and informal events foster strong environments for building bonds with donors.
- Surprise and delight. A key component to sustaining relationships with donors is thinking outside the box and providing them value for their investment when they aren’t expecting it. This begins by always listening more than you speak. A good rule of thumb is for every time you ask a person for money, you should interact with them two times without asking for money. This could be as simple as sharing an article or idea you’ve come across that relates to the person and sharing with them.
As communicators, we have a critical role to support fundraising activities. We develop what the organization communicates and how it communicates it, ensuring potential donors understand why the organization and its programs are important and become compelled to be a part of the cause.
Scene three coming soon – and it’s about governance.
Please be sure to read about each step of my Personal Journey to Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management:
Melissa Zuckerman is an Account Director at JPA Health