Every week, so many wonderful Catholics ask me, How can I get better at fundraising? One of the most important things that you can do to make this happen is to increase your level of commitment. Many of us focus on getting others to become more committed, but this isn’t where you should start.
Fundraising is about getting people so passionate about your cause that they want to support you financially. How to do this? You’ve got to increase people’s level of commitment — one step at a time — until they reach this desired goal.
The decision to financially support your church or cause and its efforts only happen after many other decisions have been made. Until you help people reach this level, you’ll stay where you are with your fundraising.
There’s a recurring perspective in the nonprofit world that you cannot give someone anything in exchange for a donation. This notion is false because you must give every person something. However, it should not be some tangible gift. Instead, you must give the person more in mission value than he or she gives in cash value. Meaning, donors see their money going into your cause as being of more value than staying in their hands (or wallet).
I’ve got good news. If you commit to increasing your mission’s value, then you will automatically take positive steps to increase your fundraising.
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Raising your commitment to your cause
It’s so easy for busy Catholics to rush through a campaign at warp speed. They push through the fundraising without stopping to figure out where they’re going, who they’re helping, or what all these funds will help do. As a result, people are unclear about what will be done with their donations and thus hesitate to give.
I helped one diocese raise $50 million; I’ve doubled another charity’s revenue for three consecutive years; and I helped a Catholic apostolate raise six figures’ worth of donations from just one email. All of this seemed impossible to me at first, but in looking back, I realize that my commitment to sharing the value of each mission was at the core of each success.
Here are three simple hacks you can increase your commitment which can then raise the value of your cause.
Hack #1. Improve your fundraising skills
We can’t talk about fundraising without knowing how to do it. Your skills can boost or crash your results faster than anything else. Like the virtues, you’ve got to learn how to perform them. The Catechism teaches us that you acquire the virtues by learning what they are and taking repeated actions to do them. You therefore must educate yourself about how to fundraise and how to fundraise well. This is done by spending time reading, watching, and listening to training material.
I recommend registering for one of my online courses that teach you how to fundraise. The courses include major donor fundraising, internet fundraising, campaign fundraising, and how to become a success development director.
Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. – CCC 1810
Hack #2. Get a fundraising coach
I’m a strong advocate for surrounding yourself with the right people. This definitely applies to fundraising. Some people choose to hire a fundraiser, but most of us don’t have the funds to do so. The best alternative is to hire a fundraising coach who will teach you how to do it for yourself. This option is both a tremendous benefit and investment for you because the best fundraising always happens from within an organization. Donors and prospects always want to hear directly from the leadership rather than a fundraiser.
Each week, I provide one-to-one coaching to Catholic organizations. Together, we plan, develop, and launch initiatives to raise funds. To start your coaching sessions, contact me today by clicking this link.
Hack #3. Work on it every day
When it comes to fundraising, you’ve got to show up every day. You can’t leave it to the last-minute or push it aside for months at a time.
As I said earlier, people donate because they are passionate about your cause and see their money as getting more constructively used in your hands than in their pockets. I’m not saying that you have to ask people for money every day, but you’ve got to be watching who God brings into your life and how to get them involved.
Whether that means sending thank you letters, personally calling donors, or simply sharing updates about your mission, you’ve got to work at inspiring people every day.
When you inspire people each day with what you are doing to realize your — and their — mission, you are planting the seeds of your fundraising.
To learn what to do each day to increase daily commitment, I recommend ordering a copy of my book, Alms, which outlines the essential tasks any Catholic should be taking.
Here are your next steps
As a fundraiser helping hundreds of Catholic causes, I have seen amazing things happen when we increase commitment to our missions. We have more confidence and clarity in our donation requests, we gain more people around us to ask, more donors continue supporting us, and we grow more and deeper faith that we are doing what God wants.