Last Thursday, I had the honor of presenting at the AFP North Carolina Conference on Philanthropy in Charlotte.

My session was called “4 Simple Steps to Building Donor Relationships and Fully Funding Your Mission Using Donor-Based Fundraising.”

My intention for this breakout session was to help my students focus on building donor relationships and share my concept of getting fully funded, which leads to fundraising success.

Here are a few notes from the session.

What does it mean to ‘Get fully funded?’ It’s a state of fundraising where you can easily raise all the money your organization needs to fulfill its mission.  Your organization has all the equipment, supplies, and staff it needs.  Fundraising is not only easy, it’s fun!

What is donor-based fundraising? It focuses on the donor and the relationship. It creates long-term sustainability for the organization and a satisfying experience for the donor.  It requires honest two-way communication.

When you follow the principles of donor-based fundraising, there are 4 simple steps to raising all the money your organization needs.

  1. Tell your story.  Keep it short and simple, and tell people why they should care about your organization.
  2. Ask for a gift. Ask multiple times during the year and use a variety of techniques.
  3. Thank the donor. Be warm, sincere, and prompt in your gratitude.
  4. Build relationships. Get to know your donors and what peaks their interest in your organization.

I’ve used these principles and steps many times, as a Development Director and as a coach, to bring about some amazing results in fundraising. I’ve had donors thank me for giving them the chance to make a donation.  I’ve broken fundraising records.  And I’ve had an absolute ball doing it!

Try these principles out and see for yourself what can happen.

  1. Sandy, I so appreciate this statement “It creates long-term sustainability for the organization and a satisfying experience for the donor.” I am reminded of the time line that organizations should be looking at and how it can really payoff by holding off on the immediate gratification.

  2. Sandy, it’s so true, the 4 steps are simple. And it is amazing how often organizations with the best intentions skip one or more of the steps and wonder why the money is slowing down or donors are leaving. Following each step takes some time, but produces results for the long-term.

  3. Great points Sandy, #3 & #4 are especially important. We were just discussing why it is so crucial for an organization to ask why people are getting involved. One of our team members shares her experience with volunteering and loosing some of her connection with the charity when there is no interest in why she is there –

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