A few years ago while speaking at the African Christian Broadcasting Conference in South Africa, I asked Mary Hutchinson who founded a donor development firm to submit a guest post on a topic that would make a difference for our readers. After reading my post on How to be a Better Communications or Media Director, she began to consider how ministry staff on the “donor side” of communications could be more effective. It’s great to have a brilliant and effective program, podcast, and website, but what can you do to keep those people engaged and supporting your cause? Sadly, Mary passed away since that time, but her advice is still worth hearing. Here’s Mary’s top ten suggestions for cultivating donors for your nonprofit or ministry:
So many churches, ministries, and nonprofits struggle with fundraising these days, and there’s no question that in today’s culture, there are many challenges with raising money. So I asked Tim Smith (who’s been involved in donor development for a long time, and today is the Chief Development Officer of The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.) what he considers the “main thing” when it comes to fundraising. Here’s his reply:
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for unique Christmas gifts. So I asked my friend Bill High to give me some unusual ideas. Bill’s an expert on donor development and his personal mission is to change the way people think about the values of family, legacy and generosity – and their practice of them. Here’s what Bill suggested:
Best short film of the week is a long form commercial. Check it out, expand it to full screen, turn up the audio, and get a tissue.
Over and over I get calls from frustrated nonprofits because they’re struggling financially or not getting on the radar of potential supporters. Sometimes they’re uncomfortable asking for financial support, but in most cases, they’re not really afraid to ask. The problem is, they’re asking for money, not sharing a vision. Look at your media presentations, videos, live events, print materials, and in-person contacts. What do they say? What story are they telling? It’s not
I originally wrote this post earlier in the year, and this month a version of it appeared as my faith and culture column in Charisma magazine. I’m already starting to get some criticism of the column, so I thought I’d publish it again, and see what you think. Let the good times begin:
The U.S. government has given non-profit status to organizations created to serve the common good. Humanitarian efforts, religious organizations, educational outreach, medical services – all are common types of non-profit groups. They accept donations, and are exempt of taxation, which allows them enormous financial incentives and latitude. Therefore, in the case of churches and ministries, fundraising has become a vital tool that’s used to raise the necessary money to make ministry happen.