The terms “sales” and "selling" make a lot of nonprofit people nervous, which is too bad. There are many beneficial sales skills nonprofits would be wise to adopt, especially if you're raising major gifts and corporate sponsorship. So kindly overcome your distaste for “sales” and “selling” and read on. Fundraising and selling are two ways to generate income. Why not see what our for-profit brethren are doing that we could use??
This is the third article in our series on fundraising management. This time, we’ll discuss how good management practices remove obstacles to success. This is one of the three majorduties of management. And by the way, we’ll reveal (gasp!) the difference between management and “managers.”
Hard Dara about Fundraising ProductivityOur Leaky Bucket Assessmen, open since April 2011, has revealed significant gaps - "leaks" - in the way large proportions of nonprofits manage their fundraising efforts. The data is troubling indeed. While we know and honor the brilliant dedicated work of many outstanding fundraising professionals, we recognize that many more nonprofits could improve their financial situations by adopting some basic management tools to improve accountability and performance.
Everything I ever wanted to know about fundraising, I learned in my mud-pie factory. I learned it because I set up my mud-pie factory with a very orderly process, including ways to track results. I never wanted to just mix up any old mud or call any old ball of dirt a "mud-pie." I had higher standards than that.
We knew our Leaky Bucket Assessment for Effective Fundraising was popular. After all, we've gotten hundreds of surveys back so far, and about 20% of you have taken advantage of our ongoing offer of a free, private, confidential review of your findings. What we didn't expect was the surveys that have come in from far-flung corners of the world. So far we've covered Canada (not so far-flung), the UK (only moderately far-flung) and the Galapagos Islands (definitely far-flung!). Recently, to our delight, we've gotten a couple of Leaky Buckets from Beijing. Yay for the Leaky Bucket!
We've been running our Leaky Bucket Assessment of Fundraising Effectiveness for about a year now, and to our surprise, only a tiny fraction - 3% - of respondents to date have scored at the "Watertight" level. Only a teeny-tiny minority of nonprofit organizations are truly efficient and effective in their fundraising practices, at least in terms of the nine practices measured in the Leaky Bucket. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the CEO of one of those "Watertight" agencies, and got a taste of what it's like in a nonprofit with effective development practices.
I just had a great conversation with two people who, like me, have been thinking about the Art-vs.-Science debate that's been going on in fundraising circles for a while now. One is Linda Lysakowski, a multi-published fundraising author and expert in the field. The other is Cathy Williams, who's chairing the Fundraising Effectiveness Project for AFP (the Association of Fundraising Professionals). It was really reassuring to hear from these experts that there is a growing awareness of the need for science in the fundraising field, and a growing hunger for "scientific" resources that help nonprofits achieve great results through fundraising.
Where does your fundraising spring a leak? You might be surprised to discover that there are a lot of "leaky buckets" out there in the nonprofit world. Join me on August 18, at the Nonprofit Marketing Summit of FDMA (Florida Direct Marketing Association), where I'm the keynote presenter. I'll share up-to-the-minute results on our study of effective fundraising practices, The Leaky Bucket Survey for Effective Fundraising. The Leaky Bucket measures the level of maturity of nine critical business practices that either contribute to or detract from the effectiveness of any fundraising organization. If you haven't taken yours yet, there's still time to get your data included before the 18th! Click here to start your assessment.