Don’t Cast a Wide Net

You’ve probably heard someone in your organization say we need more donors or we need more people to know about us. That may be true, but be careful about how you plan to reach out to your new supporters.  They are often closer than you think.
Not everyone is interested in your organization
Sad, but true, and it usually has nothing to do with you.  There are a lot of people in this world. Concentrate on reaching out to folks who are interested in your work.
Relationships matter
The best way to increase revenue is to keep as many of your current donors as you can, and get them to give at a higher level.  Even though this isn’t a post on donor retention, you can’t overlook the relationships you have with your supporters. If your donors stop giving because they don’t feel you appreciate them, that’s something you can control and fix.
You will, however, lose some donors due to situations you can’t control.  Don’t despair.  Your new potential donors may not be far away. 
In the case of major donors, your board and other donors can help you find new potential donors.  It’s not about reaching out to people with money.  Oprah or Bill Gates probably won’t donate to your organization. The Oprah Syndrome They need to have a connection to your cause. Fundraising is a World of “We” not “Them”
You’ll have more success if you reach out to people who already know you. Other potential donors are your newsletter subscribers, social media followers, event attendees, and volunteers. 
You can cultivate these supporters by communicating regularly and showing how you are making a difference for the people you serve.  If you do it well, you should have a good chance of getting them to donate.
Raising awareness is a vague goal
What do you want when you say you want more people to know about us?  Sure, you would like to get press coverage, but you need a call to action, too.   Also, an article in the newspaper probably isn’t going to get you that many donations or volunteers unless you pitch an awesome story and target publications that your potential supporters will read.
Your audience isn’t everyone.
Events are more fun if you bring a friend
You will have more luck getting people to attend one of your events if you post an announcement on social media and get your followers to spread the word to their friends.  

You can submit event listings in your local paper, too. But people are more likely to attend an event if they have some connection to your cause, whether they know someone in your organization or live in your community. 
Remember to sustain relationships with your event attendees.  Send them a thank you note after your event and stay in touch throughout the year, so they will be more likely to attend next time.
What types of people like to volunteer?
If you need more volunteers, figure out what has worked for you in the past.  Your current volunteers may be able to help you recruit new volunteers. 
If you find you have a bunch of volunteers who are fleeing, be sure it’s not because they feel they weren’t properly trained or supported.  Relationships matter.
Keep track
When you reach out to different groups, keep track of which ones donate, volunteer, or attend an event.  You should find that you often don’t have to cast a wide net.

Photo by ACKman16 via Flickr

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