In GlobalGiving’s fourth session of the Online Fundraising Academy, we invited Marshall Bailly, the Executive Director of Leadership Initiatives, to share tips for cultivating a donor network. Marshall and his team have raised $1 million through GlobalGiving, especially through targeted matching campaigns. He has built relationships with a core group of donors that regularly support Leadership Initiatives via various promotions. He has developed a comprehensive strategy for campaign outreach and communications, including local donor mobilization in Nigeria, where Leadership Initiatives operates.
Session Recording: www.anymeeting.com/900-634-271/EF54DA87884B
Leadership Initiative (LI) – Finds community leaders in Nigeria, give them business training, give them investment to jumpstart their business, helps them build community from bottom up
- For real donor growth, they have to feel they are a part of the organization, so they’ll want to contribute more than just money to your org
- Give them a sense of ownership and show them their impact on the organization
Donor Committees – You can’t do it alone!
- A group of 5-7 people that help raise money and set fundraising agenda
- Create one month, six month, one year and five year plan for where you want your fundraising goals to be. And each person takes charge of one goal
- Have reachable goals to motivate your committee
- LI’s donor committee members
- Met members through friends (and friends of friends), events, own social/family circle, staff on the ground
- Developed relationships over years
- Keep changing people when you can, so they don’t get burnt out. Want people coming in with new voices, new eyes
- Donor Captains go out and achieve goals
- Allows you to spread the burden of finding more donors
- Brings new people into the organization and allows them to take a leadership role
- For last bonus day, had 15 donor captains, and each person was in charge of reaching 10 people.
- Individual communication with donors get them excited and committed to donate
- Reach out to active donors and donors with potential resources
- Research all donors – Google them, look at LinkedIn profile to see if they could be a resource
- Reach out to them, ask for help growing your organization, contribute more than money
LI’s five types of donor network leaders
- Social Leaders – people who know a lot of people
- Goal: Create a generation of donors who stay connected with LI over many years
- Specialty Type Donors – people with jobs that can help you get a special service and connections to improve your organization
- Host an event to learn about organization with the extra fun factor to get people more excited
- High End Donors – people who donate over $1,000 at a time
- Slowly tell them about organization, build up trust, show you care, why they should care
- Allow people to bring their ideas of how to make the organization better
- Corporate Sponsors – organizations who donate over $1,000 at a time
- Find corporations with a vested interest in the community you’re working in or some part of your organization
- A wider networks helps to find connections with corporations
- Business Alliance Program Students – high school students get help to get into college while they help solve development problems for businesses in Nigeria
- Address needs of both students and businesses
- Keep partnership with those students as they leave high school
Don’t chase “white whales”
- Don’t keep chasing those who aren’t interested – chase those who care and ask questions
- Don’t leave your donors angry – donors might test the waters to see if you care
LI Fundraising Timeline
- Fundraising goals and donor network started out small, grew bigger and better each year
- In the beginning was mostly donor committee, then events after three years, then first corporate sponsorship after five years
- It takes time to build up, piece by piece
Get Ahead in this Competitive Environment
- Need to have something interesting, why people should care, an emotional connection and a call to action
- Donors respond better to a problem, emotional story, and how they can change it
- Put a face to the problem – donors can talk/skype to people on the ground
- Need to grab their attention. Need to have good fundraising stories
- Comparison chart – show what makes your organization unique and why it’s better than other organizations
- Make sure donor captains are on the same page – they know mission statement, why you matter, how to elevate organization above the rest
- Donor captains can give an elevator speech (30 second pitch for organization)
Communicating with Donors
- Have different impact messages, communications for each group of donors (corporations get different message from GlobalGiving donors because have different interests in organization)
- Have specialized social media, blogs, messaging for different donor groups
- Refine, strengthen and sharpen key messages is important at any stage of an organizations growth and development every year
- Have a goal for each donor to rally around
Click here for Marshall’s campaign fundraising webinar
Click here for Marshall’s bonus day how-to manual
Email Marshall at email@example.com
Q: Is a donor committee and board the same thing? Is there significant overlap between the two?
A: Board does much more to grow and develop the organization than just fundraising. There are some overlaps though. LI has some board members in donor committees.
Q: What is your communication stories system to feed the stories in the field to people in the US?
A: LI has a key sponsorship program in Nigeria where they provide technology to Skype with businesses in Nigeria. LI has on the ground employees who provide stories. Each donor group is connected with different businesses.
Q: Do you utilize media?
A: Utilizing media comes from meeting people and following up with them. Marshall wrote letters and met with people who wrote reports. LI hasn’t gotten a media contact without investing in relationships, and they always reach out to media first. Be the group that’s so passionate and won’t go away.
Q: Do you have a template letter to reach out to corporations?
A: Have a specific letter for each corporation. Personalize the letter! Know their background and make any connections you can. Put a little personal hand written message in the letter or on the envelope.
*Trends from past sessions: Develop a personality. Make sure you’re real with the individuals you interact with. Build strong relationships with donors and make them feel appreciated and needed. Get out there, seek opportunities to meet new people, reach new audiences.