The more years I’m involved with nonprofit fundraising, the more I’m convinced that my secret formula to fundraising success is exactly why nonprofits raise the money they need to fund their mission. When nonprofits put this formula into action, they get more money without unnecessary work. This is the first time I’ve revealed this formula to anyone.
The formula is:
Consistency + Intentionality + Focus = funding
I know this formula probably seems extremely simple but you would be surprised how hard it actually is to put to practice. The one thing I do know is when you spend the time to put this formula into action, funding comes.
Funds come when you consistently steward your donors. I go into great detail about stewardship as sustainable funding in a three-part blog post. Regular Communications is key to getting donors. Donors don’t want to be an ATM machine. They want to be your partner. I have a newsletter schedule here to help you find some consistency in that area. You should also ask your donors consistently. Crowdfunding campaigns like Giving Tuesday often don’t work because the nonprofit hasn’t been consistent with their communications and fostering the relationship. It becomes a great disadvantage for the new or small nonprofit.
Being intentional about who you put on your list ( AKA ideal donor), helps make your list valuable. Being able to draw from that list at any time. Intentionality also means sitting down and planning your Communications – including your asks. This plan helps you to be very intentional about who, what message, where, and when you will communicate with your donors. This plan also helps you be consistent. Luckily, this plan is called a fundraising plan. The calendar part of my fundraising plan helps you be intentional with your communications and activities.
You must also be intentional with your time. Carve out about 30 minutes a day to work on one fundraising step in your plan. Maybe it’s sending that thank you note to volunteers and donors. Maybe it’s sending more information to someone who has shown an interest in your organization. Maybe being intentional means working the 9 steps to a successful nonprofit. Whatever it means to you and your organization, you have to intentionally block out the time to move those goals forward.
The last key element is focus. Without it, the other two aren’t as effective. You must make an effort to focus on your donors and your fundraising efforts. Build small things into your daily, weekly, and monthly routines that put a focus on your donors. These things may be writing a thank you note once a day to a donor expressing your appreciation for a donation or volunteer time. Maybe you call two donors a week or make it a habit to consult your fundraising plan every week and make one thing on the planner a weekly Big Three to accomplish.
Focus can also mean taking one yearly plan goal, breaking it down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. Then using the principle of focus, focusing on that one goal until it is done. I find that multitasking rarely gives me focus and takes even longer to complete the task. Use time blocking to focus on blocks of time on one particular goal. This will move your fundraising goals faster.
Tools to Help with the Formula
Full Focus planner or any planner that you will use is important to help you work your plan, be consistent, intentional and focused. The key word here is use. A planner doesn’t help you if you are not using it on a daily basis. You may not like the full Focus planner but I do encourage you to find some system that works well for you.
Fundraising plan will help you define how you will be consistent, intentional, and it will bring focus to your fundraising efforts. Putting together a fundraising plan will help you identify and clarify your goals and then focus on those goals. The calendar part of a fundraising plan will also help you stay consistent and intentional.
Checklist or task managers will help you get organized. Making checklists for recurring tasks will help you make these tasks routine and routine becomes a habit. The membership, Nonprofit Nation, has checklists you can download. Join the waitlist to Nonprofit Nation. You will be notified when it comes open next. You can also use tools like Trello and Asana to help you organize your recurring tasks.
Those three things, consistency, intentionality, and focus are the single biggest drivers of funding. When you concentrate on consistency, intentionality, and focus, you move your fundraising goals forward faster and wind up with more funding.
If you need help with a fundraising plan, you can go to the services tab on the website and find out how you can work with me on a fundraising plan. If you would like more focus on a particular subject, you can work with me in the mentor program.