The 5 Key Elements Of A Thoughtful and Systematic Approach To Fundraising and Marketing

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At OrangeGerbera we spend a lot of time talking about adopting a thoughtful and systematic approach to fundraising and marketing.

While many of our posts and conversations revolve around this central concept, it's important to consider and appreciate what we mean by this.

What Does it Actually Look Like?

A thoughtful and systematic approach to fundraising and marketing can be somewhat different for each business and circumstance but can generally be characterized as one that fosters:

1. A strong connection between daily fundraising and marketing activities and top-level organizational goals. Every activity, from individual microblogging to updating donor profiles in your CRM system, should never be more than 3–4 steps removed from top-level organizational goals.

Example: Every post to Twitter or thank you letter should be tied to a specific campaign or communications program consisting of one or more goals that roll up to individual departmental goals, which each roll up to organizational goals.

2. Visibility of planned activities with sufficient flexibility to respond to surprises calmly and confidently. Teams should have visibility into several months worth of  planned activities (campaigns/events/appeals) with respect to one another, and understand how changes in one activity affect all others relative to activity and departmental goals.

Example: A single-view twelve-month linear calendar displaying all scheduled activities' planning, key milestone, launches and end dates.

3. Healthy collaboration throughout the organization, between leadership and functional teams, all with an appropriate level of visibility into activities and progress. Eradicate black box business functions, align teams/departments to achieve synergies and recognize codependence, help teams demonstrate a direct connection between their day-to-day activities and top-level organizational goals, and report on progress openly and frequently across the organization.

Example: In addition to individual team/departmental goals, introduce shared goals and progress reports across teams, and hold combined teams equally accountable for progress.

4. A reliable and scalable system supporting the planning, execution, analysis, and optimization of fundraising and marketing activities. Move beyond random one-off tactics, avoid repeating costly mistakes, and free teams from reinventing the wheel with each new activity. Instead, encourage identification and adoption of best practice processes while creating more time for strategic planning and creative execution.

Example: Deploy a system consisting of shared calendaring, integrated campaign/activity briefs, and online collaboration and workflow.

5. A practical and accessible knowledge management system that persists despite staff turnover and growth. Two primary elements of sustained growth are continuous incremental improvement and persistence of institutional knowledge. Create a simple process that enables and celebrates identification and application of learning opportunities.

Example: Create a catalog/index and process for easily recording learning opportunities (mistakes and successes) and sharing in the identification of new approaches.

Next Steps

None of this comes easy. However, as with most things worth doing, the benefits of simply getting started can have a dramatically sobering and rewarding affect.

Each year nonprofit businesses are expected to do more with less and maximize revenues. Gone are the days of allowing individuals or teams to do their work as they always have and/or in isolation, without regard for how their activities help or hinder the organization's progress toward achieving its mission.

If you want to learn more about adopting a thoughtful and systematic approach to fundraising, contact us.


Image credit: Im Seongbin (with changes)