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FUNdraising Good Times

POSTED: January 13, 2017, 12:00 pm

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Are you ready for a successful fundraising year? Are you already involved? Before you go full force in the marketplace – whether with cultivation or solicitation – stop and review your fundraising readiness status. Here are 10 business processes we have found impact fundraising. Take a moment to review, and consider scheduling a staff meeting to discuss.

1. Customer service. Do we have a system in place that provides donors with the information or interaction they requested? Have we created a culture that ensures people who interact with our organization leave feeling informed and good about giving?

2. Recognition and acknowledgement. Do we have a donor recognition program that seeks to make our donors and volunteers feel special and appreciated? Have we updated it for 2017?

3. Education and awareness. Do we have systems and materials that update and educate potential donors about our work and how they can become involved as donors and advocates?

4. Communication. Do our current methods of communication inform people about who we are and what we do? Is our message clear and consistent? Is it up to date? Are we using methods that reach our donors and supporters as well as those we serve and advocate for?

5. Making the case. What are we selling in the marketplace? Are we clear about our financial needs and projected impact? Do we use accessible language and engaging images? Do all who are involved with fundraising know our priorities?

6. Partnership and collaboration. Are we positioned to partner and collaborate with organizations that can increase our effectiveness and ability to fulfill our mission? Are we “going it alone” when we could partner?

7. Business and fundraising plan. Are we operating from a plan that will guide our volunteers, leadership and staff and help ensure delivery of services as well as our financial sustainability?

8. Staff and volunteer orientation and training. Do we orient and train new and existing staff and volunteers so they can be most effective? Do these need to be documented or updated? Do we have a welcoming culture?

9. Increased engagement opportunities. Have we thought about those things we need to put in place to excite and engage current donors, volunteers and interested parties? Should these be modified or updated?

10. Impact –Can we honestly measure the impact of our work? Are we measuring the “right” things? Do we have systems in place to substantiate our ability to deliver on what we have promised? Do we have quantitative data that corresponds with qualitative findings?

Staff play a critical – though often invisible – role in fundraising and volunteer engagement. Taking some time to discuss these processes can help increase results throughout the year. Engage staff from across the organization in your assessment conversation. Ask each to help afterwards by taking a small, specific action in an area you all agree needs improvement or an update.

Our recommendation: consistently review your organization’s effectiveness. Take a look now to strengthen your work in 2017.

Copyright 2017 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw are authors of four books on fundraising available on For help growing your fundraising visit or call (901) 522-8727.

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