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July 14, 2024

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FUNdraising Good Times

POSTED: November 03, 2017, 9:30 am

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Is it too late to start fundraising? Do you feel you don’t have “what it takes?” Don’t let your worries stop you from fundraising. Here are two tips to help you start your fundraising today.

First, if you work at a nonprofit or university, look at your list of donors. It doesn’t matter what technology you use to store your donor information, the most important thing is to look at it. Identify who your five largest donors are for each of the past three years. Check to see if each has made a gift this year. If yes, have you called to say thank you? (Hint, if you haven’t, pick up the phone now.) If you find there are top donors who haven’t yet given for this year, do a little more research. Who do they know? What inspired them to give? Who would be the right person to talk with each donor, one-on-one, to encourage them to make a gift before the year end?

Once you have compiled this information you need to reach out to your “solicitors.” That’s a big fundraising term to describe the people who will ask your donors for a gift. Yes, that’s right, you want people to ask. You can send a letter, you can send an email – there’s nothing wrong with that – but for your largest donors you want a personal touch.

Talk with your solicitors to make sure they are up to date with the work and impact of your organization. And very importantly, make sure that each has already made a gift this year. You want people to share why they give, and encourage others to join them.

What else can you do? Host a party at your own home or office and let people know you want to make a group gift to a nonprofit – or university – you believe in. Here’s how it works, invite friends over for coffee, a drink or snacks. Ask each to donate $20 or $100 depending on your crowd. Or, invite everyone at your party to get on line at the same time and give from their phones. Make it fun. You can do something. You don’t have to wait until you know the “right people” have the “right” database, or produce the new marketing brochure. Use what you have now to get where you want to go. Ask your donors and friends to give.

Copyright 2017 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw are authors of four books on fundraising available on For help growing your fundraising visit or call (901) 522-8727.

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