Fundraising Tips from Guidestar

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

In July 2011, Guidestar published an article on their Top 10 Fundraising Tips. Three of their ideas seemed especially interesting.

The first was “How to get your Board more involved in fundraising” by staging a Board Member Thank-a-Thon. Many nonprofit Executive Directors are frustrated by their Board’s unwillingness to help fundraise. In fact, it is the #2 reason why EDs leave their post, according to a Compass Point study. A Thank-a-Thon gets Board members to come together one evening to call and thank recent donors. It is an easy way to get the Board to interact with donors, who are typically delighted to be thanked without being asked for more. Board members will leave feeling empowered and connected to your nonprofit’s work.

A second tip was on building loyal, happy donors. The tip makes the point that donors don’t give because you have needs. They give because you meet needs. Donors don’t want to hear about the difficulties your nonprofit is experiencing- no one wants to join a sinking ship. They want to know what their donations have been able to do to help people in the community and the issues that they care about, and what their next donation will enable you to do. “Emphasize impact and stories in all your communications with donors”.

A third tip was how to produce a profitable fundraising event. The key is to have a detailed plan that defines all the elements of the event, what each will cost and who will manage the process for insuring that each element arrives at the right place, at the right time and at the budgeted cost. Be cautious about making unrealistic assumptions about how many of the elements will be donated. A respectable outcome would be to generate $2 of revenue for every $1 of expenditure.

You can read about all of Guidestar’s Top 10 Fundraising Tips at

 Author:  Bob Cryer,  Executive Coaches of Orange County,