What a Catholic Fundraiser Should Do Each Week
“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
Most people have no idea about what the job of a fundraiser actually entails. If you ask the average person “what does a fundraiser do?’, you will get the response: “they raise funds.” If you ask, “how does a fundraiser raise funds?”, the answer will be: “they ask people for money.” If you dig deeper and ask, “how do they ask people for money?”, you will likely get a blank stare.
So what does a fundraiser do? When I first got started, I was told to identify people (prospects), contact them to arrange a meeting and then, on meeting, to ask them for money. A straightforward method, no?
In reality, I just ended up having a lot of uncomfortable conversations. Sometimes the “prospect” had no money to give. Worse still, their spouse had just passed away. Talk about an awkward moment! Sometimes, I found myself in colorful, even hostile interchanges. I would ask myself “how on earth did this person even get on the list?”
It seemed that for all the positive meetings, there were just as many negative ones which was exhausting. I needed a way to ask the right people for the right amount of money at just the right moment?
Five years later, I have refined this process into ten tasks which I carry out weekly:
1. Pray each day (e.g. Divine Office, Mass, Rosary)
2. Thank X people (gratitude is essential)
3. Contact X people to say hello/give an update (reach everyone in your community at least once a month)
4. Organize meetings with X people on your Dream List*
5. Organize X simple 1-to-1 catch-up meetings
6. Increase your community (add to contact list) by X people
7. Update and clean your contact database
8. Distribute free content about your organization to X people
9. Attend X events outside your organization
10. Ask X people to donate or increase their donations
The ‘X’ symbol indicates a target number. As my regular readers will know, I work best when my fundraising is measurable. If you don’t reach your weekly goal for a specific task, that’s okay. Simply reflect on why and make a plan to improve the following week.
Focus on the number of meetings, events etc. but worry less about having a weekly income aim. This is because it is it is hard to control short-term monetary objectives. By aiming to accomplish these 10 tasks consistently for 52 weeks, I have found myself meeting the right people at the right time for raising my yearly fundraising target.
I also mentioned a ‘Dream List’. This is a list of 100 people who would make a significant difference to the success of your organization either via funds, resources, connections or guidance. If you can get even five of these highly-influential people to actively contribute in one year you have a great ‘Dream List’.
For more details, here is an article I wrote on How to Write Your Own Dream List
Why just five? Well, first, it’s quite challenging to capture these people’s attention as they are likely already involved in helping society through other projects. Second, even if just one person becomes active, they can bring tremendous opportunities for your organization, hence the ‘dream’ factor!