What is Mission-Centered Fundraising?

A fundraiser's main focus is to meet their financial goal.

Many of you have high non-renewal. You spend too much time looking for new donors. You are always looking to convince someone you don't really know to make a gift. This results in working with a lot of people you don't have a connection with. It is easy to focus on the money, as it is the main reason you talk with them. You can feel isolated from many in the organization at times because no one really likes fundraising.

What if you could meet the financial goal and have the following?

  • A culture where people want to be connected to fundraising and inspired to renew every year.

  • 90% renewal of donors - you know the donors and each year interact authentically while building a committed community who understand the value of the mission and know they are valued as partners.

  • Lower the need for donor acquisition to only when growing capacity is needed.

  • As fundraiser you would manage a donor community (instead of a list of donors) as insiders giving them connection to the mission, its value to the community and how the organization's staff and leaders meet the mission goals.

This is possible with Mission Centered Fundraising.

It is a 3-part process.

1. Build the Team

2. Manage Donor Relationship

3. Create the Donor Renewal Cycle

The mission is at the heart of everyone's involvement. There are 4 values:

  • Every donor matters

  • Renewal is a priority

  • Connection is human-to-human

  • The fundraiser is the responsible leader

Ready to learn more? Get in touch to schedule a call and discuss the possibilities of mission-centered fundraising.

The Importance of Donors Feeling Seen

A few years back I was giving a $1,000 annually to an organization because the mission is important to me.  That’s a big gift for me and I had given for several years.  When my granddaughter graduated from high school, I gave the $1,000 to thank a theater school that had been very important to her.  It was meant to be for only that one year.

I sort of expected to hear from the organization that lost the $1,000 asking me why.  Knowing that it isn’t an easy call, I looked forward to sharing my story.  I never heard from the fundraiser.  It was surprising not to hear from her but also surprising how I felt.  It seemed to me the $1,000 wasn’t missed.  While I continue to give I have not returned to the $1,000.

A call to chat about what happened with my gift would have felt good to me.  Yet, it feels the gift was small and taking time to talk with donors giving small amounts wasn’t worth it.  An email would have helped.  Some communication to let me feel seen.

This experience gave me insight into why donors who give $250 and less have stopped giving at a rate of 25% in the past 10 years. 

Has philanthropy become a place for only people who give 5, 6, and 7-figure gifts?  I now have greater clarity why renewal is only 30-40%.

As a result of my experience, I have created a process for donors to join the team as partners and recognize their commitment to the mission to inspire their desire to renew.

Here are 3 key steps to renew your 2018 donors:  

  • Invite donors into a partnership 

  • Inspire, belonging, and clarify their importance

  • Focus on the mission and its value to your community

Let’s not have donors feeling unseen and peripheral.  I wanted to renew but there was no connection or sense of belonging.

So I didn’t.  

Send me your questions. Let’s begin a conversation about building community with human connections, renewing donors, and meeting financial goals.  Renewing donors create a supportive community.

Email me at penny@renewablephilanthropy.com 

5 Steps to Authentic Relationships with Donors 

5 Steps to Authentic Relationships with Donors 

Authentic relationships is key to success of a high number of donors renewing their commitment annually.

Donor renewal is reestablishment or continuation of the relationship with the donor.  The focus is with the donor recognizing their desire to join and help the mission and its beneficiaries. Donors report they will give more and more often if they feel meaningfully connected.

Reciprocity or Exchange for Giving

Reciprocity or Exchange for Giving

Foundation, business, or event funding have reciprocity or exchange for funding built into their support.  

Foundations ask for why you need the money to learn if the reason matches their interests and goals. They require follow up reports to be informed of the benefits of funding. Reciprocity is in knowing they supported a need in their community and met a goal. 

What are your thoughts about donor renewal?

I have written a few articles focusing on the building connections with donors to inspire renewal.  In this article I am inviting you share your thoughts, questions, or challenges on donor renewal.  It would be great to begin a conversation all readers.  I will respond to your comments.

Since I know that currently annual giving renewal of donors leaves fundraisers spending much time looking new people.  It becomes the top question in our minds. The goal we are trying to reach is a financial one.  The pressure on the executive director and members of the board is to have money to fund the mission’s programs.  There is no donor renewal goal.  There is no judgement made on donor renewal.  Many organizations don’t know their renewal rate.

We have developed excellent skills at getting new people.  We focus on getting the money to the point that people who give larger gifts are the ones remembered. Fundraisers are successful at this model of operation.  So why and how does donor renewal become a good thing.  If there are 50 donors giving $50,000 and they all renew the money stays the same.  But the work changes and the fundraiser’s focus and skills need to adjust.

According to reports smaller organizations especially are having a hard time meeting financial goals.  With fundraisers changing jobs in 2 years or less it is hard to build meaningful donor connections with the mission.  

Is it possible to build a “community of donors” who renew every year?  Can we create fundraising system that enables the fundraiser to focus on connecting donors (current and lapsed) with the mission?  Can we reduce searching for new people to <10%?

What support does a fundraiser need?  How does the relationship with the executive director and the board members need to change?  What skills would fundraiser want to develop?  

Your ideas, thoughts, questions, or challenges are encouraged.  Not one of us can do this alone.  We need a community of professionals who want to have find happiness in recognizing generosity and fundraising.

Please make you comments and conversation respectful.  I look forward to your ideas.

Inviting Donors to Join the Mission: How it Works

Last week the focus of my article was “asking” and “giving”.    Now we can transform that way of thinking.  “Inviting” and “Joining” will change the work and interaction between donors and fundraisers.

This is not just semantics, it changes the experience for the “asker”.  Most people find asking for anything uncomfortable.  For donors the giving experience can feel like throwing money into an organization without real connection.  The fundraiser focuses on getting closer to their financial goal and the donor experiences giving money to the organization.  In the moment of the transaction both can feel satisfied.

When inviting a person to join the organization as a supporter, the donor experiences an interaction that feels like a partnership.  In this invitation donors are engaged as people, joining the leaders and staff serving their community.  Donors are insiders.  When they are connected to the mission and understand the value of their investment they, want to renew. The experience of the being asked for their money is diminished.  The giving experience is changed.

Connecting with the donor and their belief in the mission will motivate them to learn more of the mission service and the value of the organization’s programs to their community.  Their engagement with the mission supports their renewal.

Penelope Burk’s Annual Donor Survey (2014)  www.cygresearch.com reports when asked 67% of donors would renew and 52% would make a larger gift.  When people feel they belong, are helping, with meaningful connections, they will want renew.

Donors are real partners with organization’s leaders and staff serving a community need.  We all know, organizations are formed to meet a community needs and it takes a collaboration of people to create successful service for that community.  This means leaders, professionals, volunteers and donors are partners.  Let’s invite donors to be partners.

Mission Centered Fundraising (MCF) makes interaction more important that transaction.  It is a 3-part system to involve donors in long-term relationship as partners, renewing their support annually.  Let’s have a conversation on how you can begin to provide Mission Centered Fundraising for individual donors.