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5 Fundraising Tips

5 Fundraising Tips

How can an institution can make wise investments in its philanthropic future and build a sustainable culture of philanthropy? Thomas Minar, president of Franklin College, offers five suggestions.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask, just be careful about how you do it.  Philanthropy should be based on passion – what ignites you and other constituents – so share your passion for your institution’s vision and mission and it’ll be easy.  Ask others to join in your passion:  “Would you consider joining me in supporting this important effort at the university with a gift?”
  2. Make sure goals are attainable.  Whether the goals you set for your board, your president, your staff or the institution as a whole, no one will be helped by great-sounding goals that no one achieves.  Too many leaders are romanced by the fancy, round sounds of “$100 million” or “$1 billion.”  Goals that are impossible to reach simply serve to demoralize and increase turnover in staff and volunteers and, ultimately, can decrease results by setting the wrong tone.
  3. Fundraising is a team sport.  Share in goal setting, planning, solicitation, and credit.
  4. Pre-ask, early ask, ask, ask again, keep them engaged, and go back for more.   Don't be afraid to keep trying with the prospect with whom you don’t first have success.  A donor long ago taught me “no doesn’t mean know until they have your lawyer say it to you.”  Her point was that personal engagement on an ongoing basis changes relationships!
  5. Make sure your donors can be partners in your institution’s successes.  Share information with them regularly.  But help set their expectations, too; the $25,000 donor who wants to be included in every event or have input on everything a department or program does is asking too much.  Help donors understand that in a resource-constrained environment, stewardship and fundraising cost time and need to be efficient and effective, just like your core programs.
Join Thomas Minar for Strategies for Successful Fundraising in Public and Independent Institutions at the National Conference on Trusteeship this April 1-4, 2017, in Dallas, Texas. Registration will be available on site!
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