The Key to Successful Fundraising

| by Shannon Williams

Natalie is a high school senior in our neighborhood. She is an outstanding young lady; one any parent would want their own children to emulate. I have known Natalie since she was about 8 and it has been fun to watch her grow up.

I mention Natalie because in early December I received an email from her mother alerting me and other neighbors to Natalie’s fine arts fundraiser. Her high school chorale group was selling Christmas trees to fund a trip to a competition in 2015. It just so happens that Natalie attends my own high school alma mater.

I like Natalie a lot. I have fond memories of my own high school experience. I opened the flier with the details about the fundraiser and within a few seconds, decided to pass.

Why? Quite simply, I knew I could buy the tree for a little less at the big box retailer down the street. Call me stingy or scrooge. I might deserve that, but let me tell you a little secret. If Natalie had come to my door and asked me to buy the tree, I would have written the check in a New York minute. I would have NEVER said no to Natalie’s sweet face. But via email, I could delete it and move on—almost guilt free.

The same is true in all non-profit fundraising.

I believe with all my heart in the power of face to face fundraising. NOTHING beats it. It is the key to successful fundraising.

Email seems easy and non-threatening and it is. It is easy to ignore, delete, or simply forget. But, looking someone in the eyes and asking them to support a cause you are passionate about is memorable and inspiring. And most importantly, it yields results—almost every time.

If you are a non-profit board member, fundraising volunteer or staff member, resolve to ask your donors to give face to face in 2015. As much as I admire her, I urge you: don’t be Natalie. If you choose what appears to be the path of least resistance, you will find that it is also the path of fewest results.


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