In some of the larger not for profit organizations, when you ask this question, you get fingers in the form of crosses. Behind these crosses are colleagues yelling, “not me”. In smaller or new non-profits, you get everyone involved to mouth the words, ever so hesitantly, “we all are”.
No matter how passionate you are about the mission, or how much you believe in the cause, asking for money is hard. It is also necessary. For the organization to accomplish its mission, have a significant impact, and for you to receive a paycheck for doing so, you need to raise funds. And it IS everyone’s responsibility to help.
In her book, Raise More Money, Terri Axelrod explains that 85% of all fundraising is done before the first penny is asked for. That means your development team needs stories to inspire. Because they are not apart of the programs or delivery of services at that magic moment when significant impact is made with the smallest measure of kindness, they need the programs and service delivery team to be the development advocates who can identify, build and share the stories that inspire.
The receptionist and facility people need to ask vendors and visitors if they are aware of partnering and gift opportunities with their companies and organizations. They need to have printed material available to hand these people and interactive websites that work and engage website visitors with multiple calls to action on the home page.
Fundraising needs to be part of the culture. When a member of the team shares a story about a life impacted, that is the start of fundraising. When a front desk volunteer greets visitors and vendors with a smile and shares a program flyer, that is the start of fundraising. To make fundraising part of your culture is to connect the start with the development team at the finish.
Leadership needs to drive, encourage, and recognize this behavior. Public praise for bringing on a new donor or corporate partner always works well. Invitation to lunch, or picking up a favorite beverage helps too. Replacing old office equipment as a result of a new gift is inspiring. If you are the head development person and working on a summer push, get discount movie theatre passes for non-development people to hand out regularly and randomly. Everyone enjoys a summer blockbuster.
A good sales team recognizes that it takes valuable service delivery people and smart office staff to make the organization look good. When the organization looks good, it is easier to get new clients and grow current ones. A good sales team recognizes that their job is harder without the support of their colleagues and inspires the culture through praise and recognition. Fundraising is “Sales with a Purpose”.