The secret ingredient to fundraising success

There is a secret ingredient to fundraising success that no one talks about.

In fact, it’s so simple that people often don’t believe me when I tell them.

I’ve seen people in small and large nonprofits alike overlook this one little thing, that can literally make or break your success. And if you don’t get this, it will frustrate you to no end.

Follow up and follow through is where you win

There. I let the secret out.

Follow up and follow through is crucial to every step of the fundraising process.

Because it’s such a simple solution to people’s fundraising woes, they don’t believe me when I tell them it’s the answer to their problems!

Here’s the thing. Everyone is busy. It’s like a badge of honour these days. Busyiness hurts your fundraising.

Donors, regardless of how much they are committed to giving, still take time to give and you need to follow up at just about every step of the way.

You are also busy. Trust me - I know! it means that you can get distracted and easily be pulled away from your good fundraising intentions, but if you don’t follow through, you won’t get results.

The secret to success lies not in strategy or formula, but in persistence.

You need to follow up to book meetings, to confirm event attendance, to confirm details on how to get a donation paid. Everything requires follow up.

You need to follow through on what you say you’re going to do. You need to get back to donors with answers to their questions, with reports about the impact of their support, with details on what’s next.

So many fundraisers, paid or volunteer, are so resistant to the follow up. I think it makes them feel like they’re bothering people. But it’s necessary, so I’m going to show you how to do it appropriately.

Five easy times follow up and follow through can make all the difference

You’re trying to book a meeting with a donor and they don’t respond right away, or they respond favorably and then go radio silent.

This doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in meeting with you, it just means that they need you to follow up. When booking a donor meeting, follow up every couple of weeks until you book a time. Then make sure you confirm the meeting the day before.

You send an appeal and you get an okay response.

Everything these days is multi-pronged. Direct Mail letters do well, but they do better if you follow up with an email. Email appeals are inexpensive, but you need to send a series to boost your response rates.

You’re getting low RSVPs for an event.

Make follow-up phone calls to people who haven’t responded to an event invitation. Engage volunteers for this task if you have many calls to make, to ask people if they are able to join you. You will see attendance increase dramatically! I have doubled event attendance with this simple follow-up technique.

You meet with someone but then get distracted and forget to say thanks.

You should ALWAYS be thanking people for their time, for their gifts and for their support. As soon as I get back to my computer after a meeting I send a quick thank you email just so they know I really appreciated the person’s time. Handwritten notes are great too, especially because they are so rare these days.

Someone says ‘Yes’ to a major gift! Congratulations! Time to pop the bubbly, right? Well, think again because you still have to get that gift in the door.

This takes time and gentle persistence. The donor may have every intention of seeing the gift through, and yet you still need to follow up with reminders.

Know what actions to take and when

Sound good, right? These simple actions can have a huge impact on your fundraising results.

Successful fundraising is about knowing what actions to take and when. Tomorrow I open the doors to my what the fundraising! program, which turns small nonprofits, step-by-step, into fundraising powerhouses.

I'm so proud of this program and the results its getting for small organizations. Not only do you have access to online lessons, but you also have a hundred days of hands-on support through my weekly office hours. I will HELP YOU with the follow up and the follow through.

I'm committed to your success. I open the doors to what the fundraising! just a few times each year, so the time to act is now. Follow through on your commitment to grow your fundraising. The cart opens tomorrow and early bird pricing ends at midnight EST on March 31.