Maximizing Your Fundraising


At SOURCE’s 10 year anniversary summit, I had the honor of moderating a fundraising panel with Barbara Bushnell, currently VP of Development for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and Professor Pamela Gann, the President emerita of Claremont McKenna College. Here are some of the main takeaways:

“Cultivation, cultivation, cultivation.”

The #1 job of any board is to fundraise for your organization by cultivating donor relationships. Help your board by training them how to create relationships with potential donors, and set clear expectations with “give and get” requirements. A common complaint among board members is that they “don’t know how to meet donors,” so remind them that the best way to meet donors is to talk to people about why they believe in your organization! If they can effectively communicate to people why they’re so passionate about what you do, those people will want to support you as well.

Focus on personal connections between donors and organizations

Give potential donors ways to get involved in your mission! Invite them to volunteer with a project, to meet some of the constituents you serve, or to attend an event and meet people involved in your organization. Show them how important their giving is to the community, and they’re far more likely to give a generous donation. Additionally, you can turn your volunteers in to donors. They already believe in your mission, so give them opportunities to get support that mission financially! You might be surprised how generous they are. “Finally, don’t forget to ask! Make sure that you are making it easy to donate online or in person.”

Make sure that 100% of your board members are donating to your organization

Your board members need to know that they’re all expected to personally contribute, and that they will be held to that expectation.  If you don’t have 100% of board members donating, that speaks volumes to potential funders about their belief in your cause. If they aren’t able to contribute, it might be a good idea to have honest, but compassionate conversations about whether or not it is the right time for them to serve on the board.

If you would like to further discuss your fundraising efforts, please feel free to reach out to us as Best of luck fundraising!