In today’s episode, we are talking about the free resource every charity needs to reboot and start again. We are in a season where we do need to reboot because we’ve never been here before. If we look at anything that’s happened in our past, recessions, depressions, etc. we can look to them and see that things will not be the same. We cannot, especially in our fundraising efforts, go back to the way we were doing it before. Go to maryvalloni.com to download my free checklist and workbook. Both of these resources come right out of my program Fundraising Freedom Academy.
If you’ve read my book, Fundraising Freedom, you know I lean heavily on the seven steps I train inside that book. These are the seven steps I teach every single one of my clients regardless if they are a small startup raising a couple of thousands of dollars or they are big organizations raising multi-millions. All of them run off this seven-step process. When you download the checklist, you’ll see the first question asks where you are in the fundraising process. I want you to see that most people jump right to step six when fundraising, Make the Ask, because they need cash. They jump into asking for money because they want to make a difference. When you jump right to step six, you miss out on the first five steps. You have to start with step one, Focus Your Vision. This first step is what will help you create clarity on who you are and what you stand for. It will also help you determine your mission, your timeline, your budget, etc. Don’t get confused about mission versus vision. A mission statement tells people why you exist. A vision statement is your desired end result. The reason why I want you to spend a good chunk of time on your vision is that if you screw up the vision step of the process, you’re in trouble. If you don’t have a vision people want to follow or a movement that drives people to all move in the same direction, you’re in trouble before you even get started.
Run Your Research is where I start to give you some homework to see what others are doing. Follow 1-3 organizations that are doing similar work and are in the budget range that you want to be. All you have to do is pay attention to these organizations – how are they succeeding, how do they share their stories? Having these conversations gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how these organizations are running.
After you’ve run your research and found out what other people are doing, it’s now time to Enlist Your Team. I tell everyone that the team will make or break your fundraiser/fundraising. You cannot out-perform a bad team. If you have a couple of bad apples on the executive team, no one gets to out-perform that. You must pay close attention to the people you allow into your inner circle – especially in the area of fundraising. I’m a huge advocate of building out an advisory team around your fundraising. You need to have people who sit around the table and only look at your fundraising. Remember, your board is not only recruited to look at your finances, they were recruited because they have some sort of connection to your mission and they care about the people you serve. They’re probably focused on step seven, Make Your Difference. For us, we need a team of people who only look at finances. When you have a team that is solely focused on money, you will raise the dollars you actually want to raise.
As you continue through the checklist, step four is Enhance Your Brand, which is all about your website, marketing, and branding. Most people say they run out of contact pretty quickly and when you get your branding in place, you will never lose contacts. This is why I revamped my website because branding is so important. Then I jump into Deploy Your Team and what you want your team members and volunteers to do. Then it moves on to Organize the Ask, and finally, Make Your Difference.
Remember, a lot of people show up, but they don’t show up ready to serve. Show up, filled up. Making that mental shift can make all the difference. Show up ready to serve and wherever the conversation goes, you’ll be ok with it. People are going to be drawn to you because you are a strong leader. Leaders are attracted to leaders. And when it comes down to it, donors want to know that their money is being spent wisely. They didn’t become rich or successful because they were lazy. They worked really hard for their money. They want to be paired up with a charity that looks like them. If you are doing this halfway, you are going to lose people. If you’re ready to reboot and start again, go through the checklist and start working through what you need to do. Then, download the workbook to get the templates and fill out the checklist items. You can also check out my website to see all the ways we can work together.
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