This week I attended an event put on by Metro-Edge at the Chamber of Commerce called “The Art of Fundraising”. As Board Chair of Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, I am often in a position to ask for money and search for donors and sponsors for program development and the various events we put on throughout the year. We are lucky that we have built some great relationships in the community, but our board and staff know we could do so much more. Asking people for money is not my strong suit and I am not a salesperson, so I am always up for learning strategies for successful fundraising and new ways to look at fundraising.
The panel included Pam Williams and Roy Kinji from the Sacramento Zoo and Susan Harris from the Sacramento Metro Chamber who responded to answers prompted from the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed gaining insight from successful fundraisers who have built strong relationships with donors and sponsors. Here are some of my key takeaways.
- When approached for in-kind donations, if it is not an item would would spend money on, don’t accept it.
- Timing is everything: reach out to sponsors and donors when they are planning their annual budgets.
- Present sponsors with information on all opportunities for the year rather than approaching each event separately.
- Look at things from the donor/sponsor perspective. What benefit can you provide them? What are their objectives and how can you be a partner to them and help them achieve those objectives?
- People give to people
- Show the impact NOT giving would make. What would it be like if girls couldn’t participate in Girls on the Run?
- Engage board members in giving in a way that excites them. Form teams based around their interests.
- Utilize the AAA approach for boards. Board members can be an Asker, and Ambassador or an Advocate
- Thank before you bank – stewardship is of utmost importance. There are so many places donors can give their money – make sure they want to continue to give to your organization
- Build a network and use your network
- The harder you work, the luckier you get
This event was a great reminder of the keys to successful fundraising and definitely gives me some ideas we can implement at GOTR!