Are You Driving Your Fundraiser Insane?
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Are You Driving Your Fundraiser Insane?

I met Anetra Henry-Hunting in a Nonprofit Consultant’s group on Facebook, and asked her to be my guest blogger!  I hope you enjoy reading this blog post she wrote as much as I did! Isn’t social media grand??

Do you work or volunteer from a nonprofit? Great. Keep reading because I bet you work with (or are) someone responsible for raising money to keep the good work of the organization going. Do you know what you’re doing that drives them insane?

One of my favorite parables from childhood is Whose Job Is It? If you’re not familiar, it goes like this:

Once upon a time, there were 4 people named Everybody, Somebody, Nobody, and Anybody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, buy Nobody did it. When Nobody did it, Somebody got upset about it because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized Everybody wouldn’t do it. In the end, Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Everybody could’ve done.

Being one of these four “bodies” from above is a way to drive your fundraiser batty. While the title belongs to the fundraiser (VP of Sponsorships, Director of Fundraising, or whatever your organization calls them), the responsibility of making sure your nonprofit meets their goal belongs to Everybody. Approaching fundraising with the attitude of “that’s not my job” will permeate an organization and end up hurting it. Whatever your role is, you have a network of people where you can facilitate introductions to potential sponsors and/or donors. Do that. It will not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

 Last minute requests. Can I tell you a secret? While fundraisers aren’t afraid of no (we often hear it as “not right now”), we hate saying it to our fellow board members, sponsors, and donors, even when the request is so close to the wire it’s not feasible. To keep from sending your fundraiser shopping for a new straight jacket, decide during your annual strategic planning what are feasible timelines for requests and what aren’t. The more lead time the better, but a minimum of 60 to 90 days is key. Find out why here.

Unvetted “leads”. Every fundraiser appreciates those warm introductions to potential sponsors and donors from fellow board members (like we discussed above). It often makes the business of closing the deal much easier. However, nothing sends them over the cliff faster than a warm introduction to a misunderstanding. It often looks like this:

“Hey, VP of Fundraising, I met this person who said they are interested in working with us. I told them about you and they asked you give them a call.”

(On Call) “Hi, Person interested in working with us. I am the VP of Fundraising. Thank you for your interest. I…”

(Person interested in working with us) “Uh, let me stop you right there. I am not interested in sponsoring. I’m interested in working with you. Do you have any paid opportunities?”

Fundraisers, while this may drive you insane, you have to own your piece of this. If you have not provided your fellow board members or volunteers with a script or other general information to help them understand what makes a worthy introduction, you should get started on that right away. All board members need to have a grasp on your fundraising strategy and who is on your target rolodex.

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Anetra Henry-Hunting is a marketing and sponsorship strategist and Founder of The Hunting Group in San Diego, CA.  She is also the author of “Sponsorship Success Guide for Associations”.  When she is not working with her clients or volunteering with the American Marketing Association San Diego and the San Diego Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Nick, and her family and friends.  Anetra’s web site is hunting4solutions.com.