8 Habits of Successful Fundraisers

8ballWhat is it that successful fundraisers do, that helps them raise more money for the mission? Check out these eight habits of successful fundraisers and find ways to incorporate them into your routine.

  1. Thank donors daily: Don’t let a day pass you by in which you do not thank a donor. Long term success with fundraising results from growing a base of committed donors.  Providing a prompt and meaningful thank you to each and every donor will strengthen donors’ commitments to the mission.  So pick up the phone, write a note, or visit, just be intentional about building a habit of thanking donors daily.
  2. Stay connected to the mission: Fundraising is hard work. It is important to remember why you are working so hard to raise money. So stay connected to the mission – the reason you started raising money for the cause. Visit a program site, talk with program beneficiaries, volunteer for a mission –focused activity. However you do it, find a way to stay connected to the mission.
  3. Know the top donors: Every organization has top donors, and every successful fundraiser knows his or her organization’s top donors. Identify the donors who are the most loyal and have made the largest gifts to your organization. Get to know them, and continue to strengthen their relationship with the organization.
  4. Ask for donor input: Remember that no matter how fabulous you are, you do not know everything. It is important to ask for input from donors. Whether you are looking for guidance on fundraising strategies, strategic decisions or challenging situations, remember to ask your donors for their input.
  5. Create a plan and work the plan: A fundraising goal, without a fundraising plan, is just a wish.  Successful fundraisers establish a plan and then implement the strategies in the plan. Establish a fundraising plan to help you stay on track, and outline the path for successful fundraising.
  6. Listen to donors: When meeting with a donor, the most successful fundraisers talk less and listen more. They listen to understand the donor’s passions and interests. This enables you to personalize the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of the donor.
  7. Give generously: Successful fundraisers are advocates for philanthropy. By giving generously, successful fundraisers are able to participate in the philanthropic process as a donor. Celebrate the joy of giving and feel the excitement of a donor by personally making a charitable contribution to a cause important to you.
  8. Enter notes in database: Even with busy schedules and urgent needs, successful fundraisers always make time to enter information into the donor database. A donor database is only as good as the information put into it. Recognizing the need to enter information about donors’ interests and engagement with the organization helps successful fundraisers personalize and tailor communications with donors. Make the time to get the information out of your head and into the donor database.

Habits develop over time. Although it may be impractical to establish all of these habits overnight, strive to put these habits in place so that you raise more money for the mission.


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5 Surprising fundraising mistakes

You are diligent and focused on fundraising, yet you could be sabotaging your development program.  Review these fundraising mistakes and execute these tweaks to achieve success in your fundraising program.

1. Communicating to donors how your organization is fabulous
Communicating with donors is not about how great your organization is at carrying out the mission. It is about how great your donors are and how they are the ones who make fulfilling the mission possible. The donors are the heroes, not your organization.

2. Requiring all board members to ask for gifts
Yes, board members should be engaged in the fundraising process. However, not all board members are equipped to ask for gifts. There are many other ways board members can contribute to the fundraising process such as identifying prospects, cultivating potential donors and thanking those who have already donated. By providing opportunities for board members to engage in all stages of the fundraising cycle, you can make best use of the gifts and talents of board members and maximize fundraising success. Learn more ways to engage the board in fundraising.

3. Measuring fundraising success merely by dollars raised
The total dollars raised is a measurement of fundraising success, but it should not be the only measurement. It is important to track donors, not merely dollars. Monitoring donor retention rates shifts the discussion to long-term fundraising success and maximizing lifetime value of gifts from donors.

4. Always talking to donors
Yes, it is a marvelous idea to connect with donors. However, it is important when you do connect with donors to listen to donors. Do not overwhelm donors by talking the entire time you are meeting with them. Remember to focus on listening, which will provide insights for future solicitations. Learn more about listening to donors.

5. Believing planned giving is too complicated for your organization
Planned giving is a method of donors supporting nonprofit organizations to make larger gifts than they could make from their income. Traditionally, planned giving involves a variety of trusts, bequests, and life estates, and is derived from the donor’s assets. Yes, there are some planned giving vehicles that are complex, yet there are some, such as bequests, that can be as easy as accepting cash donations.

These fundraising mistakes are all too easy to make. The key is to identify the mistakes and use the available resources to address the issues. Then, you can move forward to achieve fundraising success.

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How to raise more money in five days

5What are you going to do this week to raise money?  Use this framework to develop concrete steps to move your organization’s resource development forward this week.

Monday: Identify prospective major donors
The best place to look for prospects for major gifts is within your current donor database. Examine your database and identify two donors you have previously cultivated and call them to ask for a meeting on Thursday.

Tuesday: Review and refresh your case for support
The case for support is your answer to the question “Why should I donate to your organization?” Invest some time in reviewing and updating your organization’s case for support and ensuring it includes current information about your organization’s strategic plan, projects and program recipients.

Wednesday: Optimize online giving
It is important to ensure your website is easy to navigate for the growing number of individuals looking to give online. Ensure your website has a clear and urgent call for donations, the donation button stand out on the homepage, and the donation page does not have any unnecessary fields for the donor to complete.

Thursday: Ask
Get out from behind your desk and visit face to face with the prospects you identified on Monday. Share with them the case for support and provide them the opportunity to make a donation to support your organization’s mission.

Friday: Thank donors
Practice good stewardship by calling at least three donors to thank them for their previous support of your organization. During each call, thank the donor and share specific information about how his or her gift will fulfill the organization’s mission.

Through making intentional efforts to execute specific fundraising tasks on a daily basis, you can succeed in raising more money.

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