The key is to make your New Year’s fundraising resolutions attainable and specific enough that you can put them on your activity or to-do list.
* Get out
Talk to someone outside your organization every day, preferably a donor or a prospective donor, even if it’s just by phone.
Too many times development officers get caught up in the day-to-day of their jobs, which quite often have nothing to do with raising money or developing relationships with donors.
* Stay in
Make time every month to have coffee or lunch with someone inside your organization, but outside of the development area.
Development professionals are very busy and they often become disconnected from the rest of their organization. They can be viewed as people who are never around, who get to go to all the parties, and who have the biggest budgets.
It’s important for fundraisers to be integral parts of their organizations. By having that social time with coworkers, you are learning more about the organization and reconnecting to it, and the organization is learning more about development.
When everyone in the organization understands development, it improves fundraising throughout the organization.
* Always thank donors
Don’t forget that whatever a donor gives you is a gift. It’s not something they had to do. So thank them for it.
There should be an official written thank you, and it’s also appropriate to make a phone call.
And the next time someone in your organization sees the donor at an event, they should be thanked in person.
* Be specific
Be patient when asking for a donation, but always ask for a specific amount.
Too often it’s easier to ask people to give, without naming an amount. But that makes it easier for people to say no, and sometimes they are confused about whether your organization needs $25 or $10,000.
But asking for a specific amount assumes you’ve done some homework and are asking for an appropriate amount for an appropriate purpose.
Del Martin is managing partner and chairman of Alexander Haas Martin & Partners, an Atlanta-based major gift and capital campaign consultancy.