My Five Golden Rules for Successful Fundraising

My Five Golden Rules for Successful Fundraising

Kathryn Worthington Profile

Kathryn Worthington was until recently Arts Fundraising Fellow at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.  She has recently begun her new role as Alumni Relationships and Database Officer at Mansfield College, Oxford.  Here, Kathryn shares her five golden rules for successful fundraising.

Whether you’re in conversation with a person who has the potential to make a transformative gift to your organisation or whether you are communicating to a mass audience‚ I’ve now come to the conclusion that there are five over-arching rules which can help you achieve fundraising success. My tips are as follows:

  1. Good fundraising requires doing the little things exceptionally well‚ from handwritten thank you notes and timely responses to enquiries to making sure that you can give your donor a good cup of coffee or meal when they come to visit you‚ attention to the small details can make all the difference.
  2. Putting your supporters at the centre of what you do is vital‚ whether you are planning events or actively fundraising for a project. Make communications as tailored to the individual as possible. When working with individuals‚ find out about what interests them and link that to what you are trying to achieve. When engaging a mass audience‚ segment communications based on what individuals are interested in. Always try to find out more about the individuals you are working with and use this knowledge effectively and creatively to keep them interested in what you are doing.
  3. Fundraising is a long game that is ultimately about building relationships. Whether you’re developing a relationship with a potential major donor or building support from your followers on social media‚ it doesn’t happen overnight. Patience and effort are key. Don’t give up when you first get a no, cultivation over the long-term is important.
  4. It’s a team effort. Nothing can be achieved without the help of your colleagues. Everyone must understand the part they have to play‚ from the person on the door providing great customer care to the person making the ask. It all matters. Fundraising is the ultimate team game.
  5. There is no point in fundraising at all if you are not saying thank you. Whether you intend to ask them to support you again or not‚make sure you do not  ever neglect your donors. Remember that they have chosen to support you instead of spending their money on themselves or giving it to someone else. Make sure that their generosity is recognised appropriately‚ from sending the person who put £2 into your donation box a thank you email to a special event to recognise a major donor’s gift. 

What do you think? Do you have other experiences. We’d love to hear.