Taking A Clue From Fundraising

Fundraising is a bit like playing the board game Clue.  You need everyone in your organization to be traveling from room to room constantly.  Go to the library, kitchen, and conservatory.  It is a bit like the daily routine of taking your kids to school, spending the day at your workplace, and getting a workout at the gym.  While there you can be an admbassador for your cause’s amazing work.  You are a walking billboard and it is easy advertising. 

The next level is start inquiring about what is taking place in each room.  Is Professor Plum in the study?  At this level you are asking your board and staff to start discovering what is compelling to those who have or are considering making a philanthropic investment in your cause.  Perhaps you represent the local animal shelter and meet a donor who has made an initial contributions to the shelter but is a leadership donor to other enterprises in the community.  You can start a conversation with, “I see you are supporter of the local theater company.  I so appreciate that as I am a fan of the company and attended last season.  I am wondering what makes them so compelling to you?”  You are seeking some insights into what drives their philanthropic investments.  What do they believe?  What needs are they trying to meet?  How do they decide?  At this level you are an advocate, seeking specific information about what drives specific donor’s intentions.

Somebody needs to accuse Colonel Mustard of murder in the Ballroom with a wrench.  In the same way, there are key people in your organization who are uniquely motivated to ask for a philanthropic investment.  If you have assembled the right information from the ambassadors visiting all the rooms and added important details from the advocates then the ask is is a bit like the Accusation in Clue.  You will not get an answer until you ask.

Have fun playing.

To learn more about fundraising models, Kay Sprinkle Grace offers some of the leading models worth exploration.
Beyond Fundraising: New Strategies for Nonprofit Innovation and Investment, 2nd Edition

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