Development vs. Fundraising – What Are You Practicing?

Development in Progress SignAre you in development or fundraising? Do you know the difference? Well, it’s the difference between being the president of a Parent-Teachers Council and the president of the board of a nonprofit. PTCs, in general, are good fundraisers. In the current state of schools – they have to be good in order to offer anything beyond the bare minimum. My childrens’ school aims to raise $16,000 this year.

In contrast, the president of a nonprofit board should be good at fundraising and an expert in development. The fundraising will allow him/her to help out at the next silent auction or gala. But, the development expertise will ensure the organization will survive for years to come.

The Name On The Door Says Development For A Reason
All too often, organizations forget why the offices are labeled development. Everything that happens when you walk through that door should include creating, establishing and, yes, developing relationships. Then, and only then, will you have reliable support for staffing the next gala or raising $10 million dollars. Without these long-term relationships with a range of people involved in your organization, you will never be able to achieve your goals.

Do You Know Which Business You Are In?
In most organizations, there are a core group of people that raise their hands to volunteer – again and again. We all need those people. They staff the appreciation breakfasts and welcome people at open houses. Whether they donate large amounts or small amounts to the organization, they are incredibly valuable.

But, as it turns out, there are often a large number of people that need a personal invitation. Yes, it’s daunting to even think about – how could you possibly manage more one-on-one relationships with people other than major donors. Well, if you understand development, you don’t have to. Examine your core group and then, train them to begin developing relationships on your behalf. This can be done through encouraging everyone to bring 5 new friends, colleagues, relatives, etc., to a scheduled event or creating what we like to call a Gateway event, the first step in the form of a short breakfast or lunch that introduces a prospective donor to the mission and vision of your organization. There is no ask for money because, of course, this is development. We are interested in the giver and not the gift. And, it is the first step in what you hope will be a life-long relationship.

What does this all mean? Expand your core group and develop more relationships. Then, the fundraising will be the easy part of your job in development. Won’t that be nice?