The Fundraising Funnel – Part 1: An Introduction

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I find many non-profits tend to ignore key parts of the Fundraising Funnel or disregard it completely. You might never have heard of a Fundraising Funnel or haven’t thought too much about it. But it’s one of the fundamentals of fundraising. It has to run through everything your organisation does if you’re going to have a successful fundraising strategy.

So I want to write a few posts about it, starting with this one.

The thing is…you’re currently sitting in a bunch of people’s funnels! They might be Sales Funnels, Prospect Funnels, Loyalty Ladders, Purchase Funnels, Customer Funnels, Marketing Funnels…whatever.

Whatever they’re calling them, it’s the interaction to get your more committed, more loyal, and spending more money. Call now for information. Apply for a loyalty card. Collect 5 tokens. Sign-up now to get free alerts. It’s every touch point and the call-to-action that goes with it.

You can’t even imagine how many sales and marketing manager’s funnels you’re sitting in right now.

More than that…you are almost certainly running your own Fundraising Funnel for your organisation right now without even thinking about it. It’s quite natural.

But the point of these posts is to get you thinking about it in a more considered and systematic way. And to help you improve every stage so you get more donors…quicker…and cheaper.

Let me show you a sample Fundraising Funnel…one of my favourites that I’ve used successfully a number of times.

Very simply it might look like this:

Your organisation decides to host an information event for the public. Perhaps your CEO will speak about the latest developments in the are or one of your front-line staff might offer advice on how to support someone who is affected by the issue. Out of your 1000 followers on Facebook maybe 50 say they’re interested in the event and maybe 10 people actually turn up. Great!

The event is successful. It’s nothing glamorous. Literally just some seats put out in your offices. And tea and coffee. Your speaker was good and engaging and there were a handful of questions froA sample Fundraising Funnelm the guests. At the end you pass round a form to capture attendees contact details if they’d like to be kept up-to-date on news and events and fundraising. Out of the 10 people there maybe 9 give their phone number.

The next day you call them all to say ‘Thank You’! Thanks so much for attending…great to meet you…I hope you found it helpful. You ask the attendees if they have any feedback. What was missing? What else do they want to know? How could it have been improved? Great suggestions! Thank you! Out of the 9 people you tried to call you had a decent conversation with maybe 5 of them.

The following week you call them all back. Thanks so much again for attending last week. You got in to work this morning and they popped in to your head and you wanted to call them and only them because there’s this project your organisation is working on that you think might be of some interest to them. This is what it is…this is the problem…this is the solution…and so now you’re asking if they’d like to donate to it? Or help fundraise for it? Great! Thank you! Out of the 5 people you spoke to this time maybe 2 of them agreed to make a donation over the phone! Yay!

There’s a bit of work over a bit of time…but the lifetime value of those donors, and even of the individuals who dropped off at each stage and didn’t progress, is potentially huge. It makes the time you spent at each stage more than worthwhile.

That’s it. Nothing shiny or particularly innovative or groundbreaking. Just good, solid fundraising.

Over the coming series of posts I want to talk about other Fundraising Funnels that can work for you, how to get started, how to constantly get better at it, and more.

But in the next post I’m going to tell you the 2 biggest mistakes that organisations make.


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