Finding the right balance of the timing and tactics when you are reaching out to donors to fundraise can be a tricky proposition. I am newer to the fundraising world but there are many things I have learned during my short time with K2 on how to be a successful fundraiser. Before I speak to tactics, fundraising is ultimately selling – we are selling a cause or a candidate. But at K2 we view fundraising like matchmaking – identify the funders who care about the causes and candidates we work with. It’s our job to connect them.

Success for our clients starts with weekly outreach lists so we know who we are reaching out to and who the client should be talking to, one page messaging documents, and frequent virtual calls and small receptions – all with one goal: to make the donor feel heard/seen/loved. Master the basics!

  1. Target call/email lists
    Call sheets are a short list of donors that your client should be reaching out to each week – these lists (ours are virtual) should also be used by your fundraiser to keep track of who the primary outreach individuals or companies are for the week. This is easily done through a CRM and is a great way to keep contact with donors, especially if they have given in the past but not in the current cycle. One of my clients has effectively built long term donor relationships starting with call sheet conversations, and often, these calls lead to a second or third meeting, setting them up for lasting donor interactions.
  2. Messaging Graphics
    Creating useful graphics and one pagers to use for fundraising is crucial to getting the attention of potential funders. For those who are not experienced in design, making graphics sounds like your worst nightmare but software tools like Canva have greatly simplified the process. When a client is fundraising for a specific cause or program, succinctly summarizing the information, timeline, and specific needs with a one page document can be just the push a potential donor needs to buy in. Sometimes, browsing an organization’s website can be overwhelming for donors with so much information,  they can easily end up missing key points. Highlighting specifics in an easy to read format will boost your fundraising with just a little extra effort. K2 commonly prints out one pagers and brings them to events so attendees can easily take with them. We also attach them to email campaigns.
  3. Frequent virtual and in-person connection
    The last thing any of us wants nowadays is another virtual meeting, but frequent zoom updates and donor receptions provide a much needed personal touch for fundraisers. Zoom calls are convenient for donors to join from the office or home to get critical organization updates. These calls are free and require very little planning so it is a great cost effective way to bring in donations. Even sending out an invite to join a zoom will bring your organization to the top of mind for a donor and remind them to stay involved even if they cannot attend the call. Recently, a non-profit client held a zoom a month prior to their annual gala to discuss general updates as well as the upcoming gala. After the zoom, we sold out the gala in a matter of days, demonstrating how important it is to keep donors regularly informed and excited about the messages you promote. Additionally, hosting quarterly receptions can be a successful way to bring in donations. This can be done on a small budget and is essential to foster donor relationships with in person conversations and networking. With many companies transitioning to mostly working from home and prioritizing digital marketing,in person meetings and receptions now make even more of an impression.

After a whirlwind introduction to the world of fundraising, these doable tactics can clearly set apart the professionals from the pretenders.

-Megan Linder, Fundraising & Events Account Executive