Grassroots organizations often struggle with the question of “how do we develop a list of people who could give to our nonprofit?” Many feel that they must have a list of people of power, wealth, and influence and they feel they don’t have the capacity to reach that type of constituency. Do you face this challenge?
Here’s what we have learned: your prospective donors are right in your midst. The people you already know can help you develop your donor lists, and more. Take time to consider these examples and add to the list based on your experience, who you serve, and where you are located.
The following are people who have access – and often intimate access – to people who can help grow your nonprofit’s finances, resources, and impact. They can do this through their own giving, fundraising, and volunteering. They can also do this through their networks. Consider those who work in barbershops and salons; postal workers; housekeepers; waiters; chefs; yoga instructors; fitness trainers; caregivers; and parents of every kind. Think about it – all of us interact with at least one of these categories or people, if not many. And these are people who know everyone. People confide in them. People trust them. They are a part of people’s daily lives. They are constantly meeting people from all walks of life.
These individuals are often overlooked when nonprofits look for volunteers. Yet many, especially those working as barbers and beauticians have a long history of organizing, mobilizing, and getting the job done in a relatively short period of time. They truly understand the importance of customer relationships. And when they believe in your organization, they can carry the word in a way that spreads like wildfire. Yes, we are talking about old-fashioned, person-to-person carrying the message.
Here’s another obvious point – many of these relationships cross “class lines.” Hard working people have close relationships with people who have more resources, money, and time. You can engage people of “power, wealth, and influence” when you engage with the people who interact with them.
These individuals are in a position to understand the personal priorities of a potential donor, they know what they like, and what they don’t like; due to their work they have influence in a way that others do not. Those who are parents are always in communication with other parents, organizing, and building networks. Tap into these!
In terms of research and getting the pulse of the community, the people we listed above have their finger on the pulse. They hear it, they know what people like, don’t like, and what they are supporting. They can also share insights with you for how you can enhance your organization because they often interact with those you serve or could serve.
What many of us overlook is that these are people who want to be involved. They’re hungry. Our message to nonprofit leaders is simple: invite this segment of our community to play an important role in your work. Don’t overlook them – don’t take them for granted.
[Copyright 2021 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.]