Can you actually improve your fundraising skills? And is there a fast way to do it?
You can’t become a successful fundraiser unless you have a special gift and calling for this profession, but you can definitely get smarter about fundraising if you consistently work towards this goal.
The 7 Ways To Get Smarter About Fundraising – FAST
Here are 7 proven methods that can help you accelerate your fundraising learning and achieve your nonprofit organization’s financial goals:
1. Find and read interviews of successful fundraising experts
There are two things that fundraising experts usually share during interviews: mindset and experience. If you want to become a fundraising professional, you need to think and act like one, and the easiest and most accessible way to do it is to read the insights these people provide during interviews.
Plus you’ll get to know better people you admire and trust – who wouldn’t like to hear some great stories and advice from fundraising gurus?
Stay tuned as we will soon start a series of interviews with fundraising experts!
2. Model top nonprofit organizations
Another aspect you need to consider in order to get smarter about fundraising is learning efficient strategies and tactics. Most of the human learning is achieved by imitation, and the same happens in the nonprofit world. One day, someone had the brilliant idea of organizing a lemonade stand, and now everyone is doing it in some way or another!
Whenever you lack inspiration for creative fundraising methods, take a look at other successful nonprofit organizations and see what tactics they are currently implementing. You can make your fundraising event or method original by using your nonprofit’s branding elements and giving it a different flavor!
3. Read lots of books about fundraising
If you need more structured and to-the-point information that you can review at any time consider investing in some valuable fundraising books. As a fundraising professional, you should definitely be familiar with concepts such as online giving, donor-centered fundraising, or planned giving. Fundraising books also contain actionable tips that you can put into practice in order to improve your fundraising strategy fast. Here are some titles you can start with:
- Fundraising For Dummies by John Mutz and Katherine Murray
- Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing by Michael J. Rosen
- The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising by Mazarine Treyz
- Ask Without Fear! by Marc A. Pitman
- 6 Figure Fundraising: How To Create And Run Your First $100,000+ Fundraising Campaign by Sandy Rees
- Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion Into Action by Gail Perry
- The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox
- The Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits
- Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money by Kivi Leroux Miller
4. Join trade associations or fundraising clubs
The next step towards becoming a successful fundraising professional is spending more time with people you share common interests with. Fundraising clubs are usually organized by top nonprofits and motivate their members by holding regular events, workshops, and seminars and offering recognition for reaching fundraising milestones. Having your performance acknowledged by other people is a strong motivating factor and can determine many fundraisers to overcome their limits.
The benefits of joining a trade association, on the other hand, include easy networking, access to up-to-date information, having the opportunity to influence legislation, and improving your professional reputation.
5. Take a class or seminar at your local community college about fundraising
Many community colleges offer continuing and adult education, and you can attend their courses even if you are not necessarily looking to get an associate’s degree. These education institutions grant various diplomas and certificates, and allow you to expand your fundraising knowledge in a short time.
Going back to school also represents an excellent opportunity to network with other nonprofit professionals and the benefits of networking are indubitable no matter what industry you’re in (finding out about new job openings, starting partnerships, identifying funding sources, or learning new fundraising strategies). Moreover, when you interact with people attending the same courses, you can easily find someone who is dealing with the same issues and challenges as you are.
6. Network and reach out to successful fundraising leaders
You may not reach out to these experts in person every day, but you can follow them online, on their websites, blogs, and social media pages. Thus you’ll have access to professional advice at zero costs; we strongly recommend you to check our list of 20 Fundraising Blogs Any Nonprofit Leader Should Be Reading Now. Many fundraising experts organize online workshops and seminars that you can take part in for free or surcharge; start interacting with these people now – someday you may become one of them!
7. Learn from your own successful fundraising campaigns and take action
Many people learn from their mistakes, but why not learn from your achievements too? It’s obvious – when a strategy works, you should implement it again!
In order to become a smarter fundraiser by this method, you need to develop a comprehensive plan for tracking your fundraising performance and evaluating campaign results. Do you interact with potential donors on Twitter? Then see who is following back and retweeting your posts! Do you send emails to your organization supporters? Check analytics to discover how your email marketing campaigns are working and so on! Never miss a chance to learn from something you’re already doing! The good thing is you can adjust and improve your fundraising strategy right on the spot!
Your turn now!
Which of these learning strategies have you tried and what worked best for you?
Want to learn more about creating a successful fundraising campaign?
Let’s talk. Give us a call now at 1(877) 347-3172 or click here to send us a message. We’d love to hear from you!