Everyone within a nonprofit has a unique role to play in advancing the organization’s fundraising and fund development. What role will you play in generating funds for your nonprofit?
Sometimes people within a nonprofit think that their work is the “important work” of the organization and that “someone else” is responsible for fundraising. We don’t believe that’s true.
Fundraising professionals, and/or fundraising departments cannot do it alone. You, no matter who you are, have something unique to contribute to the organization’s fundraising efforts. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a critical role for fundraising professionals to play – there is! What it does mean is that you can help grow the resources available to your nonprofit in a way that no one else can. That’s right – you! Here are some examples.
The strategic planning team draws out the best thinking from within your organization to chart a future path. The resulting strategic plan becomes the tool for communicating the organization’s vision, plans, anticipated impact, and resources needed. Being able to articulate where you are going and what it will cost is a key component of fundraising.
Those who deliver services, teach, perform, advocate, and/or research all have a story to tell. When they share their experiences in person or via the written word or a video, they are sharing specific examples of the actual work of your nonprofit. For example, you vision may be “sharing scientific information with individual families living with the effects of trauma.” What exactly does that mean and why should anyone care? Those who work within your organization can answer that question with their stories.
Your bookkeeping team can answer questions that a prospective funder may have. They can help a foundation representative understand how and why you construct your budget as you do, and how your nonprofit’s mission requires that you emphasize (and fund) an area that another organization might not.
Your receptionist can share stories of families who reach out in need and are afraid, and how they are comforted over the phone and helped to feel safe enough to get the help they need. Alumni from your school or institution of higher education can share what they experienced and how they have grown. Same with past program participants, or those who have benefitted from changes in public policy that your nonprofit advocated for.
Of course the board, executive director and/or executive team have a critical role to play. That’s expected. Same with the communications team. All these people advance a continuous learning of how and why your nonprofit is important. They speak with influencers, media, funders, and groups large and small. They carry the message so that when your fundraising team is raising money people are aware of your nonprofit, its impact, and its needs.
All members of your nonprofit can help with fundraising. What’s important is that there is a shared, common message that is communicated honestly. Your staff and volunteers know your organization: invite them to tell the story and advance your fundraising.
[Copyright 2021 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.]