Know Your Donors – and Raise More Money
Board members in most nonprofits are expected to engage in fundraising, but they often have little or no experience in this area since that is not what they do for a living. Written for the non-professional fundraiser, How to Connect with Donors recognizes that, for most people asking, for money does not come naturally.
Turning names into relationships is the key to effective donor cultivation, writes Wolf, simply because its flesh-and-blood people, not prospect lists, who give to causes they care about. Its relationships that enable casual small donors to become intensely loyal and large ones, he says.
Wolf, who has worked with 10 of the 50 largest U.S. foundations and numerous trustees, and nonprofit administrators and volunteers, counsels that effective fundraising is built on listening to current and prospective donors. Often, a potential donor doesnt want to be solicited directly and, in fact, may react negatively to a direct request. But, Wolf advises, she or he will often respond to requests for advice, which can lead to more substantial giving.
To drive home his point, Wolf cites an old adage: Ask people for money, they give you advice; ask them for advice, they give you money.”
How to Connect with Donors, though more a pamphlet, at 109 pages, than a book, offers sage advice on a number of issues which many people worry about, from how to respond to demand donors to how to deal with people you find offensive. For example:
Writes Wolf: When were authentic, donors can tell. Even if I had the perfect system for pretending, it wouldnt work for very long. And the opposite is also true. When we conduct ourselves with integrity, it shines through, especially as donors come to know us through the years.”
How to Connect with Donors and Double the Money you Raise is published by the Emerson & Church.
Reviewed by Peter Lowy