We are now a third of the way through the year, so it is time to evaluate your fundraising so far, figure out some changes that need to be made, and for you to let us know how we can help!
I have two great resources I want to tell you about. Hopefully both of them will help you consider how to cultivate your relationships with your donors more deeply and effectively.
1. Fully Funded - our first resource! We have mentioned this resource before, but they are worth repeating.
In their first podcast, Fully Funded discusses our natural rhythm for relationships. The rhythm goes like this:
First we get to know someone, then decide whether or not we like them. Once this is established, we take the first steps to trust them. Trusting them leads us to try them out (whether a person or an organization); this is accomplished by exploring what they have to offer.
It is only after our (potential) donors have walked through all the steps above (know, like, trust, and try us out) that they will feel compelled to give.
So often people raising funds want supporters to move directly from knowing to giving, which is where the breakdown in relationship cultivation occurs. When we stop being in a hurry, when we truly care for supporters and allow them the grace to follow the steps above, the opportunity to take the cultivated relationships further happen in these two steps: supporters become repeat givers and they begin referring other givers. On the other hand, when we rush the natural rhythm of relationships, we typically can't move people from knowing to giving.
This may seem like a long process but it’s the only real way to grow your donor base.
But how do we start?
Here’s a good place to begin: if you haven’t done this before, or if it's been awhile, pull up a spreadsheet and make a list of names of all the people with whom you would like to have a relationship with your ministry in the first column. In the second column list whether they are cold, warm, or hot in their relationship with your ministry. In column three list which step of a natural relationship rhythm you are in with each name - know, like, trust, try, give (or even repeat or referring). Decide what course of action each name will require to move them a step further in your relationship, both in temperature and in the natural rhythms of relationship. Try to keep in mind that the relationship is the goal, not the giving. The giving will just be a natural overflow.
Scott recently wrote a blog using an illustration of mindfully improving your golf game after a difficult day on the course that can be seamlessly applied to fundraising - here are his three easy steps:
1. Go to the clubhouse and you order a cold drink - relax, unwind, give yourself a chance to clear up some headspace.
2. As you relax, take out your scorecard, study it, look for patterns that need to be broken. Look specifically for mistakes made that cost you dearly - too many putts, a string of bad drives, scuffed shots, and so on.
3. Make notes on how to improve one thing for your next round.
If you aren't studying your fundraising numbers you won't know where you were making mistakes. You'll also miss out on feeling encouraged - the Cultivate Card shows you what you are doing well.
= Intentional Relationships
I believe that when we combine the Fully Funded Podcast approach and the Scott Morton approach we can make very important adjustments to our fundraising practices. Combining these approaches will help us to not see our supporters as dollar $ign$ but as truly important relationships in our own personal lives. As you review your “Cultivate Card” and your spreadsheet I think you’ll realize that you're just not in a place to make an ask yet, but don’t let this be an excuse to stop; be intentional to cultivate the relationship. You may also find that a great relationship is stagnant because you haven’t given them the opportunity to give again or invite them to introduce you to their best friend who loves supporting things in your ministry field.
Tips for your Cultivate Card
(Adapted from Scott Morton's Up Till Now report) :
Download your cultivate card
and get started today!