Burning Questions: What’s the latest gimmick?

July 31, 2018

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Written By: DBD Team


This July, we’re answering burning questions we hear from many clients and non-profit colleagues across the country. Chances are, the question might be burning in our readers’ minds, as well.


Today’s question:

“What’s the latest fundraising gimmick?”

First let’s talk about a quick weight loss fix. Or how to get rich in six months. Or how to find eternal love on reality TV.

Exactly. It doesn’t exist.

While trends and technology may change over time, we still believe in tried and true fundraising practices.

  • Speed dating doesn’t work in major gift fundraising. It takes time to build a relationship, learn what interests a donor, and give them time to fall in love with your organization before you ask for a substantial gift.
  • Why is more compelling than What. It’s not the work you do that is urgent and compelling to a donor, rather WHY you do it. As you share your story and build your case, remember to focus on the impact – the WHY you do what you do.
  • Leadership is Everything. The recruitment and care of the right board or the selection of the right leaders for a campaign sets the trajectory for a successful fund raising effort and ultimately non-profit. The right leaders have access to individuals, corporation and foundations who can make your dreams a reality. (If you have spent any time at all with us or reading our blogs, you’ve heard this before. And you’ll probably hear it again. It’s that important.)
  • Effective stewardship is more than saying “thank you.” It’s about showing the impact a donor’s gift made. Sharing this impact draws a donor deeper in to the mission of your organization. And understanding your donor (see bullet #1) will allow you to say thank you in a manner that speaks to them.

While it would certainly make our lives easier if there was a quick fix to fundraising, some kind of gimmick that would make the donations flow in like a magical chocolate river. But like most things in life, planning, preparation, and hard work will find you true success. And it’s worth it.

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2 responses to “Burning Questions: What’s the latest gimmick?”

  1. John C Alexander says:

    The thrill of receiving a large unsolicited gift can be intoxicating and lead one to think that F/R is indeed easy, but that gift undoubtedly came from those who believed in your “why”, regardless of your cultivating efforts. I have also experienced too many leaders who target prospects because they have given to similar causes and believe that the speed date will work. Thanks for the reminder that nothing replaces intentional and consistent cultivation and stewardship.