McManus, president of the Development Group, wrote in "Nonprofit Management 101" that she made a lot of big mistakes during her first foray into fundraising. One of the errors that she mentioned was not fully understanding the fundamentals of philanthropic giving, which led to mistakes such as not customizing her fundraising letters.
None of those mistakes prevented McManus from attaining future success in the world of philanthropy, but she believes being better prepared would have helped her even further. She can't go back in time and change those mistakes, but she can make sure other aspiring fundraisers approach the job the correct way. That's why she shared six fundraising principles to help make that first fundraising job a successful one:
- People give to people. Understand that people don’t want to give to organizations, they want to give to the people your mission serves.
- Much comes from few. Don’t send out a mass mailing to 70-80 potential corporate prospects. Take the time to identify the top 10 who have some alignment with your mission and put most of your time there.
- Wealth is not always obvious nor is it necessarily interested in your cause. Too many organizations spend too much time trying to secure donations from high-profile sources. Take a broader view that includes the many individuals with less, or less obvious, wealth who still have the means and the interest to support your mission.
- It’s not about the money -- it’s about building the relationship. Build strong relationships with your donors.
- Fundraising is not a stand-alone activity.
- Philanthropy is something to be proud of, and fundraising exists to enable philanthropy. Be proud of the work you do to help philanthropists as they use their resources to help others.
You can get more tips like these by signing up to NPT Instant Fundraising, one of our free weekly eNewsletters.