We are now in the last month of the year, can you believe it?
I thought to look back and review the top three fundraising strategies of 2021.
What didn’t work?
You will be surprised (I think) by what the list includes. Fundraising is not about BIG ideas or BIG campaigns. Instead, it is about a FEW actions done consistently well.
If anything, let me know what you think. What was your best 2021 fundraising strategy? Leave your comment below.
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Greetings, my fellow Catholics. Today, I am going to be sharing my 2021 fundraising takeaways with you. What worked the best this year might give us a little insight into next year. Stick with me until the end — it’s just a few minutes — because you are going to get a lot of tips out of every single minute.
Before I dive in, a quick introduction: I’m Brice Sokolowski, the founder of Catholicfundraiser.net, the website, Catholic resource, and knowledge base for everything that you could possibly imagine or need when it comes to successful fundraising. Like, where to find donors? How to ask, what’s new and, what’s working? This is all we focus on here at Catholicfundraiser.net.
Now, before we move on to what I am going to be sharing with you today, I want to make sure that you download — absolutely for free — my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. These are 10 proven, essential, and foundational steps that you should be taking when it comes to your fundraising. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re on your way in your asking style, it’s a great litmus test to assess if you’re staying on track or are missing something? What have you not thought about? So, make sure you download that guide. It’s absolutely for free. The details are below.
So let’s dive into my 2021 takeaways. Don’t worry, I’m looking at my notes, too, and you will be able to get all my notes, too on my website (the link is going to be below). So if you feel like you want to just print everything out to read or review later, it’s all conveniently there for you. My goal is trying to give you as much information as possible.
My key takeaways are all about fundamentals. If you take these three fundamental steps, I can say with confidence that you are going to do really well in your upcoming fundraising.
Of my three 2021 takeaways, the first and foremost is… attention. You can’t get enough attention. You have to help people to know what your apostolate is doing, why it does what it does, and how well it is serving them along the way. You have to get people to know who you are. Call it “evangelizing,” but before you can fundraise or ask for money, you have to ensure that people know what you’re already doing. It’s simple. Yes, it’s called evangelizing. I also call it getting attention. People have to know what it is that you are doing. So, step number one (and too many people step over it only, unfortunately, to hit roadblocks later) is to keep getting more and more attention. Get more people to know what you’re doing. That’s takeaway number one.
Step number two is the concept of trust. It’s more than a “concept,” it’s a fact. The reality is, before people will give, they have to trust that you know what you’re doing and that what you’re doing actually works. I know, it sounds simple, the way I just said it, but for a lot of Catholic apostolates, it presents a bit challenging. They’re wondering, How do I get people to trust what I’m doing? Usually, the easiest way is to just get into the habit of sharing updates or interesting details about what you’re doing (which goes back to my first point). Trust is really key to the concept of fundraising. If people don’t trust who you are, they won’t trust your process, or your proposed solution to a problem. Without trust, it’s going to be hard for them to say yes to a donation appeal. People want to trust. People want to donate. This attitude that times are tough and/or reciting a litany of reasons why people don’t donate, tends to disappear when there’s trust. Because people want solutions. People want apostolates that are making an impact. People are happy to donate then. So takeaway number two is very, very key.
Finally, takeaway point number three is learning how to ask. If you don’t know how to ask. It’s going to be really difficult to fundraise. Just “winging it” and/or copying what somebody else did previously, without understanding the reasons why they were doing it, will make a successful appeal really, really difficult. If all you have is a donate button on your website and a ‘Please Help Support’ page, it is going to be really challenging. Because, statistically, website donate buttons don’t even get a conversion rate! This means, just how many visitors might you need in order to get one donation? You’re talking about hundreds of people, hundreds that need to go to your website, in hopes of getting one donor. So you have to learn how to ask. You can’t just wing it. But relax, it’s also not rocket science. It’s what we teach here at CatholicFundraiser.net. Once you learn how to ask, it’s a whole lot easier. Then, on top of that, if you learn to win attention and to win trust, you will have three key 2021 takeaways in your tool kit. Learn this foundation early, and I believe you will be more successful than ever.
Those are my key takeaways for 2021, and they will apply next year, and the next year and next year, and next year after that because these are foundational pieces of advice. So I hope you have found these helpful and please, share them with an apostolate, religious community, priest, or any nonprofit that you think would benefit. Share it with your board of directors, and trustees, too. If you have any questions, just reach out to me at CatholicFundraiser.net. May God love you, and I will speak to you again soon.
Want to fundraise more for your Catholic apostolate?
Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandments of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.