I find that when you have a lot of money to spend, fundraising isn’t that difficult. And when you have no budget it’s still pretty straightforward – apply the basics, use your time wisely and lavish love upon your donors.
Sooner or later you’ll have a small chunk of money to invest back in to fundraising. That’s when it gets difficult.
So I asked some of my favourite fundraisers, How would you spend a €$£10,000 windfall if you were a fundraiser in a small/medium charity?
“We would spend every cent on donor love. Whatever that meant for that charity at that time. Inviting donors on tours or events to see programs in action. Visiting donors if they are far away. Making videos. Printing photographs. Sending flowers, chocolates, dancing bears. Whatever will make donors feel loved and cherished, make them feel remarkable. Make them want to tell their friends and anyone who will listen about this amazing, touching experience with an organization they are passionate about…Make it rain #donorlove!” – Jen Love & John Lepp, Agents Of Good
“I’d hire someone to call every single donor and say thank you, and have a bit of a chat with them. I’d also like to send them all a Christmas card. Can I have €15,000 instead?” – Niamh Ferris
“That’s simple – I’m in a medium charity (c. £400k) and we were looking to find an extra £10k earlier this year to invest in the business – specifically, to bring in marketing expertise that we don’t have in house. We would bring someone in to help us discern our organisation’s key message to help us connect with new supporters, so that we can grow beyond personal relationships and wow events, and connect our message with a potential supporter’s passions.” – Robin Peake
“Self-care. The average tenure of a fundraiser is 2 years or less. According to UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, 57% of development directors plan on leaving the organization within 2 years (for organizations raising $2 million annually). This burnout sends ripples throughout the organization, and the donor ultimately suffers. When there is a revolving door in fundraising, it’s difficult for the donor to build a relationship with the organization. According to Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, for every additional year that a staff member is at their organization, they will raise an additional 6.5 major gifts. Employee retention = donor retention = major gift potential. Internal culture and management issues can’t always be solved by throwing money at them, but $10k could be spent on better equipment, facilities, salaries, training and other perks.” – Steven Shattuck
Finally, an amazing but Anonymous Museum Development Director sent their workings across here:
You’ll see they turn their €10k in to €190k through 3 projects:
1) Newspaper ads combined with a mail drop
2) A fundraising event, used as a cultivation of major donors and ‘champions’
3) Staff recognition, thank you notes, as well as handwritten letters, calls and coffee to show some #DonorLove.
And me? It depends on a few things. But I was in a similar situation not long ago and, looking at the current performance of all of my fundraising, I decided that Community Fundraising had the most potential to grow with the quickest return…if I hired a Community Fundraiser. Now of course you can’t get many hours for €10k, but remember they’re increasing income at the same time. So my net cost is projected to peak at just over €10k.
How about you?