Special Feature: Tired of the Fundraising Treadmill?

This article is available until October 22, 2017
Tired of the Fundraising Treadmill? From Terry's just-released book, The Benevon Model for Sustainable Funding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right, Second Edition, this is Part One of Chapter One.

The first 50 orders of the new book or the new complete library set will get their copy of the new book autographed by Terry.

Even with the best of intentions and a lot of hard work, many nonprofit organizations find themselves stuck with a tired, old-reality fundraising system that leaves them powerless to do much more than get by from year to year.

The Old Reality: Jumping on the Annual Fundraising Treadmill
Fundraising methods for nonprofits have not changed much in the last 50 years: write a grant proposal, put on a party, have board members write letters or call their friends for money. All of this worked well enough, one year at a time.

Raising $50,000 to $100,000 at a gala, auction, or golf tournament seemed like a big success. Board members dutifully filled tables, sold tickets, and solicited the same friends who had solicited them earlier in the year for their favorite cause. They bucked up and did that dreaded fundraising thing, raising enough money to keep the doors open for another year.

It was a zero-sum game. The same big donors in the community giving roughly the same amount of money they gave the year before. But if you were to ask those donors to describe their deeper, long-term connection to the organization to which they wrote their check, most would tell you they barely remembered the name of the charity, or they would say, "I just did it because my friend asked me to."

From the nonprofit's point of view, the story was even more tiresome. Smart, eager development professionals jumped onto an already fast-moving treadmill of fundraising, never able to stop and challenge the fundamental assumptions. They inherited a juggling act of many disparate pieces and, with no alternative method to recommend, they fell in step with the status quo—writing grants, producing the next big event, urging board members to make calls and write letters.

Year-to-year "treadmill" fundraising was and is hard work. It has burnout written all over it. Is it any wonder that the average tenure of a development director is under two years? Or that the dream job of almost every development director is to work at a big university or private foundation?

The long-term impact of this approach on each organization is especially debilitating. Smart boards hire smart executive directors, who hire smart development directors, who turn over every two years. They never have the time to build long-term, sustainable relationships with donors, to engage them in the organization's real work, or to give them the opportunity to make a lasting contribution to a mission they believe in.

Read Part Two in the October 23 edition of the E-New$.

Contact Benevon today to learn how the Benevon Model for nonprofit fundraising can help you develop an effective fundraising campaign and cultivate committed lifelong donors.

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