Monday, September 06, 2010

One Way to Remedy Fundraising Jitters Is To Have Reasons To Feel Confident About the Potential to Succeed, and Here's How...

How to construct one's outlook, or point of view, level of confidence, patience, level of calm, or mindset, while fundraising is difficult for anyone who works in fundraising at one time or another.

Today's post has provides some sound advice that can lessen how much anyone doing fundraising stresses or labors, and I thought this appropriate for Labor Day.

It may seem like, 'Well, it's just a part of the job.  I'll just muscle through.  Or, I'll just keep my chin up.  Or...'  It is stressful and that is a fact.  Whether or not a fundraiser is a seasoned successful fundraiser familiar with how it goes, or if someone brand new to the work it's all the same, at the basic level.  It is a situation where one is hoping for the best and putting themselves and the organization 'out there' to achieve the fundraising success.

The fact is, there is a lot that can be done (and is done) to lessen the amount of anxiety one goes through, as a fundraiser.

A nonprofit's cash flow comes from income or money that comes into the organization.  Most money coming into a nonprofit is raised and comes from any one of many different forms of fundraising (i.e. grant writing, appeal letter campaigns, bequests, annual board contributions, etc.).  A nonprofit will set its programs and services for the coming (new) year, create an organizational (operating) budget and additionally budgets for each program and service that it is going to provide; and then the fundraising (a fundraising plan also called a development plan) is formulated to bring money in (cash flow) that will cover all expenses (for the programs, services, overhead, allocations to investments or an endowment, and any other cost such as unexpected costs, like maybe a rainy day fund).

Once a fundraising or development plan is formulated, a plan of action is created to determine the 'who, what, where, when, why, and how' for all fundraising to be conducted over the course of the new year.  Once the budgets, development, plan, and any other pertinent planning is reviewed and ratified by the board, the real work begins.

When a nonprofit has the following attributes and qualities, whether fundraising is successful or not is less of a uncertainty and has more to do with the quality of the fundraising work conducted, how knowledgeable, dedicated, and successful everyone working on the fundraising is and how well planned all of the fundraising is.  When an organization's programs and services are successful (achieving the organization's mission statement goal), the organization operates professionally and transparently, the leadership is focused on and committed to the good of the organization and its beneficiaries (before anyone or anything else), then the fundraiser can focus on their job at hand with a strong sense that there's nothing to 'sell' anyone on who may be approached for support.  Rather, when an organization is operated in excellence (as proven by the nonprofit's: track records, achievements, and ongoing commitment to its beneficiaries' well being (even as the beneficiaries' needs change over time, and they will and do)) then just sharing the quality, capability, potential, and reputation that this organization has to stand on in its current and future work will garner potential donors' (and others, such as new volunteers, board, staff, etc.) confidence.  If the fundraiser's done their homework and approached potential new donors who are interested in the cause or issue that the nonprofit works on, and the type of services or programs being offered: there should be a higher likelihood in fundraising successes.  How well a nonprofit raises any kinds of funds has everything to do with its organizational track record (or successes ala the organization's mission statement), how much about that track record is known in the community (or marketing and public relations), and how well the nonprofit is doing at asking for support (or fundraising).

The following posts are recommended on this topic.  They each get more in depth in aspects of operations or best practices that can most definitely help contribute a relative peace of mind and confidence in a nonprofit's fundraiser's potential for success, for any organization. 

How to Plan For and Fund Grant Writing for Your Organization and How Grant Writing Helps Get A Nonprofit Into a Position to Increase and Improve All of Its Fundraising and Top 10 Reasons Any Nonprofit Should Begin Applying for Grants

The fact is, it isn't easy for anyone to sit and wait for a response to a grant request, after it's been submitted and so the anxiety or at least the anticipation never altogether disappears.  For help with dealing with waiting for a response, in the interim, read Waiting For A Response To Your Grant Request

Fundraising should be diversified.  Relying on one or two (or even just three) different fundraisers to bring all of any nonprofit's revenue for a given year is risky.  See Bring in Donations From Many Different Kinds of Sources

Fundraising is always a team effort requiring the organization's leadership as much as other key staff or volunteers to assist in its success.  Read Leadership's Role in Seeking Grants  and Here are Some Tips to Get Your Board Behind Your Agency's Grant Writing

Who or which entities your organization approaches for donations or other forms of support can increase amounts raised, increase the number of new donors, save time, and save resources (as they won't be wasted on approaching people who are the least likely to give to your organization).  Just requesting support from anyone, willy nilly, can be very expensive and not as successful.  For tips on success, read How to Strategize About Which Grant Donors Your Organization Will Approach for Which of Your Organization's Funding Needs

Being clear about What Are Grant Donors Looking For & Funding Today can definitely lessen fundraising anxiety.

Knowing that the case that you make demonstrating why your nonprofit deserves to receive a grant is also very confidence building (especially when it's right on track).  Read How To Make the Case for Your Grant Request, In the Grant Proposal to learn how to do so effectively.

Specific to how a nonprofit operates and conducts its business the following posts also explain how a nonprofit can increase its fundraising success by implementing (and how to implement) the following:

Transparency... Four Letter Word or Wave of the Future?

Evaluation Methods - How A Nonprofit Can Use Them to Raise More Money More Often

Here's A Handy Checklist for Nonprofit Operations and Fundraising Success

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