Fund Raising is Hard!

main2Many of us serve on boards, manage boards, interact with board members, lead development programs, train volunteers on how to fund raise, and create a culture of giving and awareness with constituencies and staff members.

Board members often lament (sometimes in private or sometimes in public): “Fund Raising is Hard!”

That can indeed be the truth depending upon a wide variety of factors. I have heard board members of smaller museums say “If we could just find a big donor…” Our question back is: “What will you do with that person once she/he is located?”

The truth is that donors don’t write checks just because they turned up on your radar screen. Ideally they should have an interest in your museum or the content, engagement with your collections/programs/activities, a relationship with the museum and the people who care about it, and more. You need to build that relationship — care about who they are as people, family members, community members, and philanthropists – and sincerely assess whether giving to your museum can be a mutually beneficial activity.

This takes time and effort, and thus, “fund raising is hard.” But the rewards are many.

If you have a long list of prospects, it can be beneficial to grade each person on a variety of factors that include (not a complete list) engagement level with your institution, his/her history of giving to you or in the community; and capacity to give. We have a way to do this that will assist you and your board.

Here is a statistic to remember: 72% of giving in America is done by individuals.*

It is worth taking the time to build relationships.

– Jan

p.s. Here are the rest of the statistics: 15% of giving is done by Foundations; 7% by bequests; 6% by corporations

* Giving USA Foundation

Friday, April 18th, 2014 donors, fund raising, marketing, public relations

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