How to attract, win and keep donors

By Hansjuerg Moser – LIN skilled volunteer

With hundreds of NPOs in Ho Chi Minh City and its greater area, existing mainly on money from donors, foundations and grant-making organizations, the competition is huge and the demands of doing the right things in a convincing way to get a part of the cake are constantly growing.

Here are some proven and efficient tips for your fund-raising fundamentals to attract, win and keep donors:

Make sure that your vision and mission is clear, convincing and well communicated

Everything starts with your vision and mission. It is not so difficult to formulate it, if you let your thoughts go back to the time before you started your commitment to fight against poverty and injustice. In this period, you surely had your dreams, ideas, aims and the willingness to help change things to the better. So just remember and write it all down, that’s a good basis for the next steps. Adapt your text to the actual situation, add new facts and revise it:

– Formulate these fundamentals precisely. Make sure that they fit with your goals and day-to-day activities

– Integrate a really unique position of your NPO and a unique proposition of what services
your NPO delivers in what unique way to make a difference from the ones of other

– Make sure that everyone in your organization is able to formulate and explain these
fundamentals. Use board- and staff-meetings to talk about

– Present them in an appropriate form in all your communication means: your website, your
annual reports, brochures, flyers, forms, presentations, talks.

Rely on a strong and concise fundraising-strategy

Based on your vision and mission, you can define your strategy quite easily:

– It includes important long-term goals, milestones, segments to work, basic activities and,
very important:

– The role and aims of your NPO and what story and how you would like to tell it to your
target groups

– This strategy is your primary navigation-tool that helps to really focus on the general
course to follow, and

– It paves the way for your board and staff working on different topics and tasks, building
relations with actual and potential donors.

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

– Communication is fundamental! Your target group, the actual and potential donors and
the decision makers in appropriate foundations should know your vision, your mission
and, most important, the results your NPO achieves.

– You will get as much attention and interest as possible if you “talk” clearly about the
change your NPO makes! First, be emotional and tell catchy, personal, tangible success
stories!  After all, your motivation to work for a better world and to help others comes from
your heart and soul. And like you, everyone else in your NPO is committed and everyone
outside should know that!

– Present numbers and statistics only as second step to satisfy someone’s desire for facts.

Relations are everything!

– Don’t rely on your submitted proposal as the sole means of decision to get the grant or
donation. Other NPOs may also write persuading ones.

– The crucial point is to establish a personal relation to each donor. So, introduce yourself,
if possible face-to- face. If it’s not possible, write a personal letter. See the addressee as
your confidant. Nourish the relationship. Stay in regular contact. So you can even gain
other donors through their recommendation. They are your best advertisers. Do not
hesitate to ask them.

– Personally, I often used the software Microsoft Project to plan and control my
communication with every donor for the coming six month. The graphical schedule with
milestones and topics gives a perfect overview of when, what and how to communicate
with each donor. I communicated with them, depending on the importance, every two to
three month

– Use a “multi media-approach”, that means different channels and media like letters,
mails, newsletters, blogs. even social media like facebook, twitter, to inform the donors
about accomplishments, new results that have been achieved through their donations,
new staff, jubilees, exhibitions, special events, to name a few.

– Let also beneficiaries tell their personal stories and talk about their experience and the
changes in their life.

If you have a compelling mission based on touching, credible, personal stories and results and if you consider your donors as precious personalities, worth to care for, I am convinced you will be successful, keep your donors to your cause and get more resources in favor of the poorest.

Posted in For NPOs, Tips

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