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Managing a capital campaign or planning a unique fundraiser for your organization is overwhelming enough, without thinking of the time and volunteers needed to make it successful. However, there are several things that can give your organization an advantage when it comes to fundraising. 
Advantage Consulting Services can help you develop a fundraising team, set goals and select a winning strategy.   Non-profit organizations that are most successful make fundraising an ongoing process, not just a one-time annual activity. Fundraising has to be conceptualized as part of your program activities and has to be built into the rest of the work you do.
If you have any questions about fundraising or developing a capital campaign, or if you would like more information about additional resources or the services we provide, please contact us by sending an email stating your questions or your specific request for information.

How Do I Identify Major Gift Prospects?

The first step in major gift solicitation for your nonprofit organization is to identify major gift prospects, that is, those individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations capable of making gifts of $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 and above. Some organizations use prospect research vendors to scan an existing donor base and identify wealth markers. These services are only tools that provide additional information - some very good information and some very susceptible to error. Be careful of "modeled" data that provides a best guess and not hard facts. There is a place for modeled data but it is not reliable on its own. The best way to get good information on prospects is to run your list of names in front of people with knowledge of local business, banking, and investing. While confidentiality is critical, many bankers, lawyers and business persons will be able to provide clues to the ability of the people they recognize. Often those who serve on the boards of other nonprofit organizations or have worked on previous fundraising campaigns will also gain knowledge in those roles that will help them to provide a guess at the ability of a prospect to give in your nonprofit organization's fundraising projects.


Consider these ideas for your next fundraising campaign:

Get personal with your fundraisingAcross the board, whether it's direct mail, personal solicitation, special events, grants, or telemarketing, the ASK of your fundraising message must relate to the donors or the corporations unique interests. Consider how you can personalize each Ask in your fundraising message.

Answer key questions in your fundraising messageYour fundraising message should answer: Why you need the funds, what the funds will be used for, and when the funds will be spent. A good "rule of thumb" for fundraising is that the more you ask for, the more information and education you need to provide potential donors.

Ask for the Right AmountDon't ask for so much that its an embarrassment. There is nothing wrong with stretching a donors financial limits when asking for an upgraded or larger gift. Yet, its important that the stretch not be overwhelming. If you can't afford the prospect research to determine a giving level for an individual, consider providing two or more financial levels to choose from.

Provide Multiple Opportunities to GiveRepeat the ask. You dont need to be a broken record, just gently repetitive and creative. Make the Ask a part of the newsletter, the website, the annual meeting, the special fundraising event and more. This communication should be more than an Ask, as stated above. Create stories and statements in your fundraising message that are emotional, funny, rewarding, and inspiring. How can a donor resist?



Doug Seubert
Non-Profit Development Specialist
PO Box 56
Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449
(715) 383-0897

Ten Rules for Being a Good Fundraiser

These are just some things to consider.

1. Ask for a gift, don't wait. Another will ask if you don't.

2. Be professional and look professional.

3. Be accountable - personally, and for your nonprofit.

4. Be honest. Listen to your heart; it's more honest than your mind.

5. Speak with conviction for your cause.

6. If you can't, recruit someone who can.

7. A prospect is simply a donor without motivation. You provide motivation.

8. A donor is a fundraiser who has yet to share their conviction with a friend. Ask them to.

9. A good fundraiser, then, is a friendly motivator. It's that simple.

10. A successful fundraiser has thick skin, a soft heart, exceptional hearing, a quick mind, a slow tongue and no shame - at least when it comes to asking for a gift!


Common Mistakes

Fundraising is both an art and a science. If your fundraising revenues are static or declining, your organization is probably making one or more of these common mistakes:

  • Lack of planning
  • Repeating the same old fundraiser
  • Not recruiting enough help
  • Weak internal communication
  • Lack of publicity
  • Continuous fundraising
  • Bad timing
  • Picking the wrong fundraiser


Need help with fundraising or managing your next capital campaign? Contact Advantage Consulting!