Donor Drought? 4 Proven Ways to Prevent It

Where would your organization be without donors?  Out of business is the answer.  We all find ourselves constantly asking the question, “How can we raise more money?”

Where do I find more donors?  How can I get more money from the donors I currently have?  What are the methods others are using to increase the frequency of each individual donor?

If you are like most in the nonprofit field, these questions have been asked on numerous occasions within Executive Director’s offices and board rooms across the country.  Getting more out of the donors you have and adding new donors are the most important part of the sustainability for your organization.

4 Proven Ways to Prevent Donor Drought

1. PLOW – Like every farmer across the world, before anything can be planted, the soil must be prepared.  How many people have you met within the last week, whom you had no previous relationship with?  How many existing donors have to talked with this week?  The most important of the plow phase is maintaining a balance between you new prospects and existing donors.

2. PLANT – Once you have successfully prepared the soil, it is time to plant some seeds.  What does that look like outside of some agricultural process?  This means following up with those whose soil has be prepared, and planting specific seeds with them regarding future projects and how they might fit in with their dreams.  This is very personalized and it should always be focused on the hope of tomorrow and not on the hopelessness of today.

3. WATER – Can you imagine any farmer spending time plowing and planting only to forget to water his crop?  Of course not.  We should not suffer from a lack of follow through either.  This phase is just staying in contact with your prospect and communicating with them on a regular basis.  Often this would include notifying them when events are upcoming, a project you knew they were interested in received funding, or a goal was reached.  Keep in contact with them.

4. HARVEST – I am reminded of what Zig Ziglar says about asking for the order (view here).  How many of you do a great job at plowing the soil, planting the seeds, watering them, but when it comes time to harvest you do not enjoy asking the question?  If this is you, you must overcome this obstacle.

More in-depth information coming October 2012 to 501(c)(3) University for Donor Cultivation.  Sign up for the email newsletter here.

FEEDBACK:  Comment Below – What activities have been helpful to you in cultivating relationships? 

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