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How Fundraising Is Like Hand Washing

Lather, Rinse Repeat is not only good for our health and safety, but it is also a good analogy for fundraising. Just as we’ve learned that frequency and consistency are best practices for public health protocols, they are also best practices for fundraising.

Fundraising is successful when you do the same steps over and over, just like hand washing. Those steps are:

· Identify

· Qualify

· Cultivate

· Solicit

· Steward

It takes a plan to be consistent. Whether it’s a detailed, integrated plan or a one-page plan, you must start with a written plan. I always say if it’s not written down, it didn’t exist. The same philosophy works in fundraising.

Here’s how to start:

· Write it down

· Keep it where you can see it

· Follow it

· Document it

While this is very basic, the key is being consistent and to keep going. Yes, it’s hard to do every week, every month with all the things on your plate, but it works. Reaching out to prospects and donors on a regular basis is crucial to keep your pipeline full.

You don’t and should not be fundraising alone. Your best volunteer fundraisers should be your board of directors. If they are new or inexperienced, this is a great opportunity to allay their fears about fundraising. If they are experienced board members, then they understand their role and should be glad to open doors and make introductions to their network of friends, colleagues, and family.

In addition to board members, your Executive Director/CEO, who is the “face” of the organization, is another person who is a natural fundraiser. People want to meet who’s in charge and are flattered when she/he/they ask for an appointment.

You may work for an organization where the program staff understand that programs and fundraising go hand-in-hand. Program staff are not and should not be expected to ask for the donation, but they can thank the donor and share the impact made by the contribution.

Everyone can, and I will even say should, play a part in fundraising for their nonprofit organization. Constituents cannot be helped, and programs cannot be run without fundraising, and fundraising cannot happen without service to the community.

Keep washing your hands and stay safe!


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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