In the space of two weeks, three different fundraising representatives from one university contacted a local hospital to sponsor a theatre performance, start a health care scholarship for low-income students, and make a substantial donation of lab equipment. These three important requests made from three separate departments within one institution added up to one confused hospital CEO!
When multiple people are fundraising across an institution or large nonprofit organization, it pays (literally) to align efforts and ensure that donors do not feel overwhelmed with requests or confused about your organization’s priorities. In one possible poor outcome, an institution can lose out on a large donation, when a request for a smaller amount comes in first! And of course, the worst case scenario is that the institution makes such a poor impression on the potential donor, that no donation is made at all!
Here are five ways that organizations can align their fundraising efforts for greater success!
- Communicate regularly across departments about where fundraising is taking place and which donors are sought. By letting each other know to whom you are talking and for what, you can avoid talking to the same donor about different projects at the same time.
- Set funding priorities across departments. One additional benefit of communicating regularly is that you can decide together as an institution which funding requests are most important and which donors are best approached with which request.
- Listen to donors’ interests. Fundraisers tend to be protective of their donor portfolio, and understandably so. But the more you know about your donors’ interests, the better you are able to meet their needs and cultivate them for future asks. Don’t be afraid to share a donor with a colleague from a different part of the institution if you know the donor is interested in a different project.
- Strategize together. Once funding priorities are set, fundraisers across departments can help each other by sharing their expertise and brainstorming ideas for the best ways to cultivate specific donors across various areas in the organization. Remember that ultimately you are all on the same team.
- Evaluate results. Take the time during cross-departmental fundraising meetings to discuss the strategies that may have made the difference when a sought-after donation is made, and what may have gone wrong when it isn’t. Keep expanding your repertoire of strategies in collaboration with other departments for the overall success of the organization.
Without realizing it, large organizations can cross purposes when fundraising, and consequently lose out on important support from community donors. Taking the time communicate and strategize across departments can help everyone be more successful!
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