Raising Money Smarter, Not Harder
‘Work smarter, not harder!’
How often have you heard this phrase? When you hear this statement, does it cause you to
consider that there may actually be smarter ways of doing things than how you may be
currently doing them?
And how does this principle of working smarter apply to fundraising? Simple. Most institutions
apply it backwards! They work harder instead of smarter. It’s not that they want to work this
way – it’s just that they don’t understand the principles shared here and they know of no better
way to raise money effectively.
At Asset Brokers & Loans in Midland, Michigan, our purpose is to share professional insights learned and observed from raising money for hundreds of organizations over the past years. Our desire is that you will gain insights, confidence and ideas that will become catalysts for raising far more money for your organization and thereby enabling you to have a greater impact in the lives of your
Our goal is to help you to set fundraising records on your first event, by following these PTO’s:
Principles, Tips and Observations.
PTO’s: Principles, Tips and Observations
God is Jehovah Jireh. Don’t forget that God is responsible for your financial provision.
He is Jehovah Jireh – God Our Provider. He’s ultimately in charge of your financial
results, though He requires us to be faithful in the activity that leads to the result.
People Give to People. ‘People Giving to People’ is one of the most important
principles in raising money. Most of us believe we have to sell our cause before a donor
will give and we don’t understand why someone who is not affiliated with our group
would give. The reality is that relationship is more important than cause and donors
from all over the country will give based on relationship with your organization – if
You Have to Ask Before You Receive. This is a true Kingdom principle. If you ask,
you will receive. If you do not ask, you probably won’t receive! What do you think is the
greatest obstacle to people asking for funds? Answer: the fear of rejection (hearing the
word “no”). This fear is often rooted in the concern of damaging a relationship. When
you are asking someone to financially invest in your organization you are not ‘begging’
for money or asking for yourself; you are giving that person an opportunity to invest in a
You Get What You Ask For. Most of the time, people under-ask. Instead of asking
someone for $5 or $10, ask if he or she would consider investing $50 or $100 – or $500
or $1,000. In most cases they will give the higher amounts.
Big Donors Give to Big Vision. In most cases, major donors don’t want to fund debt
payments or operational expenses. Major donors want to make a big impact with their
donation investments. Make sure you have a clear and defined vision for where you are
going and ask major donors to invest in that vision. Dream big! Find out how much that
vision would cost, and then seek the resources to match your vision, not the vision to
match your resources.
Establish a 3 – Year Master Plan. Most organizations are focused on year-to-year
survival and plan their fundraising on an annual basis. The smart approach is to define
a three-year master development plan that is built on creating a family culture of giving,
minimizing the number of fundraisers, and choosing those fundraisers which produce
maximum dollars, new donors, and happy but not overworked volunteers.
Focus on Donors Over Buyers. Your long-term fundraising goal should be to develop
a stable base of individual donors, not buyers of stuff. Your perspective should shift
toward “donor development” instead of simply “fundraising” or “product sales.” Focus on
those fundraisers that generate donors – a broad base of monthly donors to your group
will provide far more revenue and stability than the standard regimen of typical
The Mega-Trend of Consolidation: Less is Best. Some larger organizations conduct
as many as eighty fundraisers per year. This is nuts! Less is best. Even five fund raisers
a year may be too much. Try to eliminate all nickel-and-dime fundraisers that consume
so much time and energy. Replace them with two major fundraisers: one in the fall and
one in the spring. Make sure at least one of these two fundraisers is a highly visible and
unifying event, such as an auction, a golf event, a walkathon or a member-focused
The Mega-Trend From Products Toward Special Events. Another major fundraising
trend occurring is a strong movement away from product-based fundraising to special
events. Traditional staple product fundraisers (such as those selling chocolates, cookie
dough, oranges, candles, magazines, etc.) are increasingly losing support of many
participants, though some product sales can be strategic. The three main reasons for
declining support of product-based fundraisers are: 1) most of these fundraisers yield
relatively low dollars, 2) most products have high expense ratio of 50% or higher, and 3)
in many cases members ultimately end up buying and giving away the products. Many
groups are replacing product-focused fundraising with special events, such as those
mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Share the Pie. Some organizations have multiple entities which compete for funds:
typically a development department, a member organization, and other departments.
Often these entities compete against each other for funds, creating internal division.
Instead of multiple-entity fundraisers, conduct large-dollar fundraisers and share the pie
with each entity to stimulate unity instead of division T-E-A-M: Together Everyone
Spend Less than 50% on Expenses. The expense for many types of fundraisers will
be 50% or more of the funds you raise. Focus on those fundraisers that produce a
greater return on investment than just 50%.
Focus on Mission, Not Money. Money enables the mission. Focus your members on
the mission benefits that will be achieved through fundraising, not simply on money
goals. People will work much harder to achieve a worthwhile mission than to simply
Give Your Money Away. Give 10% of whatever your fundraisers generate to local less
fortunate organizations in your area. Giving away a portion of funds helps stimulate a
culture of greater giving and demonstrates generosity and stewardship to your members
and the community. Giving funds away also deepens and broadens the overall mission
of your fundraising.
Get Noticed on TV. Use strategic fundraisers to create publicity opportunities in local
newspapers, radio and television. Bring radio and TV personalities to your event to
conduct live remotes. Get noticed for doing something positive in your community and
create an opportunity to tell your community about your institution.
Partner With Experts in Their Fields. Professional fundraising expertise can be
invaluable. Look for companies or professional consultants who have 1) a strong track
record of success, 2) much more experience in a given area than you, 3) a reputation of
excellence and integrity, and 4) outstanding references. Good fundraising consultants
can actually be “free” as they can help you generate far more funds than you can
generate on your own.
Conduct at Least One Big Event Per Year: Consider Servathons. Your group should
host at least one highly visible and unifying event per year. This event should bring
members together in support of your organization as well as attract others in the
community to learn about your goal (and possibly invest in it). Fundraising-focused golf
events, auctions, and community servathons are the best types of events to achieve
community visibility, member unity, and potentially significant fundraising.
Make It Fun! Who wants to invest hundreds of volunteer hours for something tedious or
boring? Determine ways to make your fundraising fun. Your volunteers will ultimately
work harder and will experience less burn-out when the process is fun.
Point to Ponder
So all the people left Moses and went to their tents to prepare their gifts. Their hearts were
stirred and they desired to do so, they brought to the Lord their offerings for the tabernacle.
Some brought to the Lord their offerings of gold – medallions, earrings, rings and necklaces.
They presented gold objects of every kind to the Lord. Others brought silver as their offering.
Now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving.
II Cor. 8:7
For more information on having a FUN Fundraiser, call Asset Brokers & Loans today at 989-631-9080 !