Here's what donors want:
- To help.
- To feel good about helping.
- To belong to a group that does good things.
Check those off every time you start a fundraiser. Find a way to satisfy those needs. Do NOT get focused solely on raising money for whatever crisis is currently on your plate. You may meet goal in the short run, but if you neglect your team -- and it IS a team! -- you lose out in the long run.
Let's look at those in a bit more detail:
1. To help: two points.
First, make it easy on your team to donate. Offer your donor a choice of PayPal, credit/debit card, and snail mail checks. Have your mailing address immediately available on your website.
Second, understand that money is just a means to an end. If your donor would rather buy the group a six pack of Frontline instead of making a donation -- applaud! Paper towels, cleaning supplies, collars and leashes, Capstar -- list out what you need. Make an amazon.com wish list.
2. To feel good about helping: post lots of updates. Notice the things that people do to help. Somebody thought to set aside their newspapers every day and bring them to you. Somebody picked up a cute figurine at a yard sale and donated it to your auction. Update everyone on what's happening and -- VERY IMPORTANT -- say thank you.
3. To belong: Start by eliminating the you/we paradigm from your patterns of speach. NEVER SAY, "WE want YOU to help US pay for xyz." Do you see how divisive that is? It tells your prospective donor that they're an outsider. They're not US, they're not part of the inner circle, they're not part of the pack. And teams have uniforms, right? Never underestimate the power of a good logo and a Tshirt. Or mug. Or blanket. Check under our FREE RESOURCES for more info on how you can get a good logo for almost nothing. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART. Looks for emblems that people can sport as part of the team. Car magnets. Jewelry.
Did I mention Tshirts?
The truth of the matter is that your 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization DOES belong to the public. The second the IRS granted the group tax-exempt status, it was no longer yours. I don't care how hard you work to put it together and who actually runs it. It belongs to the PUBLIC and that's why they're all members of your team. Never forget that.