While reflecting on what has driven the success of the Catholic organizations I’ve helped with fundraising, I have come to recognize some common characteristics that I want to share with you.
The organizations, religious orders, schools, or apostolates that keep the momentum going each week also raise the most funds. The habits and steps that they all share are simple and easy to repeat.
It’s not some magic appeal letter or mysterious major donor that has made the difference. They are the difference! By showing up each day and consistently taking action with their fundraising, they have reached their funding targets and even exceeded them.
In particular, I’ve seen three essential characteristics that can make the biggest impact. I recommend that, if you adopt the habit of applying all three, every week, then, you will get to where you want to go.
Characteristic #1 – Measure where you are today. If you don’t know where you are now, then you can’t plan where you want to go. This is more than just writing down how much you want to raise. You must consider how many volunteers, donors, and the connections you have today. You should also reflect on what kind of mission you represent today, because that will help you identify what kind of mission you want to become in the future.
This means regularly taking time to pray, reflect, and realign yourself with where you are with God and your mission. Take time to recognize what God is providing you with today: donors, volunteers, contacts, web traffic, social media followers.
Here’s another piece of advice. Keep it simple. Condense it to one piece of paper that you can keep handy and review on a regular basis.
Characteristic #2 – Measure where you want to go. Remember where you want to go and how you want to get there.
It’s not enough to decide where you want to go and then never look back on how your progress is going. You have to review your progress every week. If you want to raise more money, you have to clarify exactly what that means by breaking down the numbers. How many new donors and donations will you need? How many new contacts are required to achieve those donors? How often will you have to ask? When will you ask?
Again, keep this simple and keep all your information on one piece of paper so you can efficiently break down those numbers into monthly and weekly targets.
For example, if you want to raise an additional $100,000, divide this number by 12 to know how much to raise each month. If $100,000 in donations means 100 donors, divide this number by 12 to know how many donors you need per month. Now you know that you have to raise a little over $8,000 each month by getting eight donors/donations.
To get even clearer with where you want to go, you should know the weekly steps to obtain new donors/donations.
Characteristic #3 – Take action, constantly. When it comes to fundraising, it’s all about taking action. This means perseverance is essential. Now that you know where you are and where you want to go, you can focus your attention on taking the right actions each week.
As for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance. – Luke 8:15
Remember, fundraising isn’t about spending weeks or months organizing and launching an annual appeal. Fundraising is about constantly attracting people’s attention to your mission, gaining their trust, and inspiring them to donate.
You don’t have to do a whole lot each week. I am not asking you to spend days or even hours on fundraising. You just have to be intentional and habitual.
I guarantee that if you take small but effective actions every week for 52 weeks, you’ll reach your target – every time.
Get going today, not tomorrow.
These characteristics sound incredibly basic, and maybe you think it sounds too simple, but it works. I know because of the results I see within the Catholic nonprofits and causes who come to me for help with their fundraising. They are exceeding their targets.
Fundraising is all about taking the right perspective and approach. It’s not about one major donor, one foundation, or even one appeal.
It’s about you, how you approach fundraising, and how you continue to do so throughout the year.
Question: Which characteristic can you start applying today? [Leave a comment below to share with others, and I’ll happily respond.]