Homeless youth

Homeless youth
People we don't see.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hope for corporate giving (with action of course!)

In my past 2 ½ years at Boulder County AIDS Project the area of fundraising that has been the most challenging has been with corporate giving. Based on what I hear and what I read amongst other fundraisers I am not alone. On the other hand, I definitely do not embrace the doom and gloom scenario frequently discussed when talking about corporate giving.

All those who know more about these kinds of things than I do say that corporate giving has decreased. In many cases, corporate giving is still there, just very more specific, which may not include as many organizations as in the past.

As we continue to solicit the large, national companies, we have also been working on a plan to work more closely with local businesses and the success has been eye awakening. I think it is easy to look over local businesses, especially if you work for a huge non-profit. Don’t do it. Relationships with small, local businesses are just as valuable as a relationship with a large, national entity.

I suggest starting relationships in your own area with local businesses. When I was in hotel sales I would draw a circle on a map around a one-mile area from the hotel. You could do the same with your agency.

I am actually starting to think about business relations all over as I begin my new adventure. The first thing I need to do as I get settled in is to find a great coffee shop near the office and a great lunch place (already found the lunch place). Two business relationships right there. In my past position I built relationships with two local coffee places, both ended up becoming major donors.

We all frequent different businesses. Partner with them. Show them that partnering with your non-profit is not only an amazing thing to do but will also help grow their business.

The relationship all starts with you!

What can I do today? Make sure the people at your favorite coffee or tea place know that you fundraise for your agency and know the mission of your agency. The more they know about you and your organization the better.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It all goes back to our donors

I am enjoying my first day off in my transition from Director of Development at Boulder County AIDS Project to the new Associate Director of Development at Opera Colorado. It's a beautiful morning in Lakewood and I am feeling relaxed and very excited for my next adventure.

As I contemplate the two agencies I am in transition to/from, I keep thinking about individual donors. No matter who you fundraise for, no matter what cause you are passionate about, the individual donor is an amazing part of your agency or group's mission. Your donors are the life blood of all of the work your group can do.

I have thought about this a lot as I leave an HIV/AIDS agency (human services) and go to an opera group (the arts). It would be easy to say that the donors might be different, that there may be more or less donors, that the donors will have different need, etc., yet the reality its that donors are of equal importance to each group.

And how we treat donors are of equal importance. I know, we all have read and/or experienced the importance of a thank you. A prompt thank you at that. And many of us know the importance of making sure the donor knows how the agency spent the donor's money. Some folks stop there (if they get there). The relationship with your individual is ongoing, and I as a fundraiser have to make sure I know that and act on that.

Before this particular blog post becomes too long, I will simply end with one item that I do: weekly donor calls. Every week I make sure that I place a phone call to a list of individual donors. They can be folks who gave a year ago, six months ago, or a month ago. The call can be to thank, to say hi, or to give a recent update on the group's mission. The purpose is not as important as the call itself. Just say hi. Let them know how things are going and how their support is affecting your group that day.

More to come. Thanks for reading!

PS... On Twitter I am now @FundraiserDan !