Is there a recipe for development? & It’s All Fun and Games

 In Smith & Dale Blog

Is there a recipe for development?

I love to cook! I was making dinner the other night following a recipe (which I don’t like to do).  And indeed, the dish needed more salt and way more fresh thyme.  It didn’t call for it, but I added sherry too.  It was, in my humble opinion, much better.  After dinner, I set out to make some fudge.  I was creative with that recipe too and it failed.  The fudge didn’t set.  What does this have to do with development?  Development has best practices.  There are best practices for cultivating and soliciting a donor, for writing a grant, for direct mail appeals, but development is also nuanced.  Our ability, as practitioners, to forecast, intuit, or even anticipate these nuances is what makes us important.  It is not enough to have background data, or giving history, but to also understand how to engage the donor to create an authentic relationship with the organization.  So yes, follow the recipe for best results, but every once in a while, follow your instincts and add another pinch of salt.

It’s All Fun and Games!

Simone Joyeaux was recently speaking at our chapter of AFP.  (We do love Simone and Tom Ahearn and highly recommend their blogs) She had us talk about our “Pet Peeves”. The one that immediately came to mind was that no one really understands what it is that we as fundraisers do.  When I tell someone (not in the field) that I am a fundraising consultant…guess what the response is?  “That’s so cool – you do events! Your job must be so fun, you get to go to parties all the time!”  So, while we all know that events serve a very good purpose for organizations (bringing new donors in and marketing the organization) they are not (or should not be) the go to fundraising tool.  Unfortunately, our sector has really done a bang-up job in terms of educating the masses that a carwash or gala is a great way (or only way) to raise money!  Please, we implore you, begin internally.  Educate your staff, educate your board, begin to focus your social media and marketing on the mission and the support of individual giving NOT JUST events.  Use numbers to illustrate to these folks that the ROI is horrible on events compared to a lunch with a major donor.  Then, maybe, we can move the needle slightly to make the folks in our own industry understand how important individual donors are to our nonprofits.

Since they began the Giving USA Report, the percent of charitable giving in this country has not increased in 25 years.  And that percentage is ONLY 3.2%.  We need to do better!  https://givingusa.org/see-the-numbers-giving-usa-2016-infographic/

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