Adjust Your Methods, not Your Principles

imageSeasoned fundraisers understand and follow the principles of raising money: identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation and appreciation. This five-step process has long been the standard for successful fundraising.

As you develop campaign strategies, the following are tips to keep in mind.

Build strategies around all five principles

Communication changes over time. In the past several months, many of us have become very comfortable using video conferencing. So, it can become easy to dilute cultivation by relying on this one method. Donor prospects still need to be cultivated in other ways. They want to feel engaged in the mission. Most importantly, they want to make a difference in the lives of others. Newsletters, pictures, socially-distanced volunteer activities and other outreach opportunities are still important strategies that should not be overlooked.

Adapt your strategies

Twenty years ago, email was not a primary source of communication. Ten years ago, most social media platforms were in their infancy. These technological changes have affected all five steps of the fundraising process, but cultivation has seen an even greater impact over the last several months, with meetings and events moving online. Even if our lives move back to “normal” over time, we should integrate these new formats into our processes, since many donors may prefer them. Consider offering hybrid events or a mix of activities throughout the coming year, online and in person.

Update your fundraising plans for 2021

The events of 2020 will forever affect the way we interact with donors and donor prospects. Take this into account. Avoid the trap of doing what you have always done. Take the creativity and innovation that has been necessary for 2020, and carry it over into the coming year.

Remember, donors still want to make a difference in the lives of others, and while our methods of connecting with them will evolve, the basic principles are time-tested and here to stay.

Ross J. Pfannenstiel, Executive Vice President,

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