Institutions of all sizes spend lots of money to test the feasibility of conducting fundraising efforts. Reports, which are sometimes encyclopedic in size, are generated with all sorts of data attached (some helpful, some not-so-much) to help answer a simple question: How much money can we raise?
But when you get right down to it, there are really just 2 issues that have disproportionate importance when answering this question:
- What initiatives and projects are being highlighted for support?
- Have your leadership and major donors been collaborated with to help formulate the answer to question #1?
Now you may say, “Wait a second, this isn’t all there is – there are other factors at play as well!”
Sure, there are other issues – the effectiveness of your current major gifts program, the depth and breadth of your annual fund giving, and the results of your past fundraising efforts are examples of three additional factors that help determine how much you can raise. However, when you cut to the chase, the 2 issues above will largely determine your success.
You may get a gift if you formulate initiatives and projects without engaging leadership and major donors in the planning process (doing 1 without 2). However, if you formulate initiatives and projects by leading key donors through a collaborative planning effort, you’ll get their investment – a big difference!
Advancement or development work isn’t about asking people for something – it’s about inviting them to dream, plan, and execute with you.