When Fundraising Leaders Have Good Qualities Their Programs SOAR to New Heights

What it takes to be a true Leader, the one people choose to follow, is described in a book by Napoleon Hill. I would agree that a good Leader has the following traits. How do you stand next to this list?

  1. Unwavering courage based upon knowledge of self
  2. Self-control – a person who cannot control themselves cannot persuade others
  3. Keen sense of justice and fairness
  4. Sure of decisions
  5. A planner who works his plan
  6. Does more than what he or she is paid for
  7. Pleasing personality
  8. Sympathetic and understanding, knowing of their follower’s problems
  9. Master of details
  10. Willing to accept full responsibility
  11. Apply cooperative effort and induce followers to do the same

SOAR with Network Fundraising is based on Leaders being people of honor because they respect and appreciate the people helping them to raise money. Many times I’ve heard fundraisers say they have volunteers who do not participate. They do not do what they said they would. Take a look at #1 through #11 and if you can say, with sincere honesty, you are performing at 100%, then you have attracted the wrong person for some reason. It is time to have a discussion with them to find out what their motivation is, and politely thank them for their services if they are not inspired by your mission to do more.

There may be an item or two on the list, which you feel you can improve upon. Fantastic! Recognizing areas of development is always a step in the right direction. Everyday there are new lessons to teach and to learn. Life is ever-changing. Goals and missions course-correct. A good leader is willing to accept responsibility (#10) all of the time and this includes self (#1).

“The man who makes these (eleven factors) the basis of his leadership will find abundant opportunity to lead in any walk of life.” Napoleon Hill, Think And Grow Rich

A good leader attracts, and in the end flies to great heights in a V formation. Think of birds flying in a flock. They work together to soar. The networking arms of people do the same thing.

Good luck to you!

Fundraising Events – Good for the Heart

Amazing people do amazing things. Raising money comes from the heart and in this case, gives to the heart.

This morning I met with the Executive Director for the American Heart Association in Colorado Springs. She is focused on her goal of raising more money than they’ve ever raised before. I asked her to tell me about the events she has planned and it was truly spectacular to hear how she is engaging the networking arms of people. She understands the value this adds to her efforts. SOARing to new heights with the help of others is what I like to say.

Her agency has three main fundraisers, and many other outreach programs. It did my heart good to hear about the free CPR class they did this past weekend. The local office has made it their goal to teach everyone they can how to save a life through CPR.

The Heart & Stroke Walk is coming up in June in Colorado Springs. Details can be found at CSheartwalk.org/

The event, which really grabbed my attention was the “Go Red For Women” campaign coming up in September. The event is a day of education and networking. The importance of networking for fundraising is what I preach – share – discuss. It was wonderful to talk with someone who is seeing the success by including it within their fundraising initiatives.

We can walk and we can talk. I have a headset and the ability to walk at anytime. How about you? Shall we kill two birds with one stone and get on the phone to discuss how to bring networking into your fundraising program? This is between friends. I am not charging anyone for this. There are no strings attached. We learn best from each other and open communication.

Check things out on Facebook: SOARwithnetworkfundraising.com and gaylegross.com/ Meet up with you there. We increase potential when we learn from others.

Give! It’s an Independent Thing

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a director for a non-profit participating in the Indy Give! campaign in Colorado Springs. People who live nearby know about The Independent, which is a free newspaper listing all of the happenings. A must-have sitting on your table when you are choosing what to do this weekend. Indy Give! is their fundraising initiative.

Mission of Indy Give!

1. To encourage those individuals who do not regularly give back to our community to donate time and money, with particular emphasis on getting those in their 20s and 30s to become philanthropists;

2. To educate El Paso and Teller County residents about the vital work undertaken by relatively small, innovative nonprofits operating in and for our community;

3. To provide a Pikes Peak region-centric philanthropic platform that makes giving back to our community extremely easy, enjoyable and effective;

4. To generate applause and increase the fundraising and organizational capacity as well as the long-term viability and visibility of participating nonprofits.

What I have learned is that through participation the return is well worth the effort. Interested non-profits submit an application and pay a fee. Non-profits who are chosen to participate are part of a two month campaign. The fee to be involved more than covers the recognition, marketing, training they receive on the steps for fundraising this way. The non-profit leader I spoke with raised nearly $17,000 with a $600 investment. Everyone who participates is guaranteed to at least raise $1500 to cover their initial costs.
Visit Indygive.com to learn more about how the process works in Colorado Springs. This is an idea you may want to establish in your community OR you may have something similar already happening, which you are not aware of.
The organization receiving the most donations raised nearly $53,000 in 2016 through Indy Give! Many organizations use this style of fundraising exclusively and include their own outreach as part of their cultivation techniques. Something to think about if you are looking for something new.

Engaging People to Help Raise Money

A lot of time we feel we have to fund raise alone. It is our project. We don’t want to add burden to anyone else, after all, he or she is already so busy. Suggestion #1: Let people decide for themselves if they want to be engaged. A true leader once told me, “You do not know someone.” It is very true. We do not know what a person is thinking or feeling unless we ask.

As humans we are meant to socialize. We all desire to feel important, special, and to help others. Birds within a flock are great role models because they step up to help each other when a member of their flock gets tired. Let us learn from them.

Leaders and Followers

Birds have a leader at the head of the V formation and there are many followers, which form the flock. The leader drops back into the flock when they become tired. Another bird takes over the lead when this happens in order to continue the momentum.

A Leader in network fundraising is connected in the community and creates opportunities for people. They see the strengths in others and lift people up by empowering them to use their natural gifts. A Leader cares about the success of people around them.

Birds in a flock head in the same direction, which allows them to be cohesive.

Members of an organization share a common vision, which ultimately drives them to do good work. An organization achieving fundraising success values the people working alongside them. They are kept informed and feel appreciated for what they do.

Have you ever heard of the seven ways to thank someone? I first heard about this from a wonderful colleague when I worked for a non-profit but I don’t have the details specifically from her. This list comes from the Harvard Business Review. I hope you find it to be helpful.

  1. Handwritten thank-you note
  2. Send something fun – we get lots of communication so send something to stand out
  3. Make an introduction for two people so they may build a partnership
  4. Offer to help…and deliver
  5. Circle back at a later date
  6. Send a video note
  7. Make a good old-fashioned phone call

Small, regular acts of kindness can change your life and increase the involvement of people in your program. People are more likely to step up and give you a break from doing all the heavy lifting. They are more likely to become part of your V formation – or flock! They will become part of the group who are willing to SOAR with you.

Raising a Buck and Going Fast – Thoughts on Fundraising

A buck is another name for a dollar in America. It is also one hundred when you are talking speed. You have probably heard someone say, “She had to pay three hundred bucks for the ticket she got while driving a buck-twenty on the highway,” right? This means she paid a $300 fine for going 120 miles per hour. It’s a stretch, I agree. The cops would have to catch her first. ; )

One thing I do know is that you can raise a buck in a fast way when you focus on the process. This part takes separating yourself from everything else you are doing for 90 minutes a day in order to focus on:

  • Resources
  • Outreach
  • A Firm Plan

Resources: Spend time discovering what is already available and what you will need to find. Other people may have more knowledge than you do on the resources to consider. Your goal is to make time to visit with the right people, and make objective decisions on the best direction for moving forward in a productive way. You may have to be proactive and make changes some people are not happy with. Your supervisor is the one to approve these moves. Ask for their permission to blame them if someone gets upset with your changes. NEVER blame anyone without asking for his or her permission first.

Outreach: Discover the channels within your community and base your path on the best strategic moves for achieving the results you want. More power for your buck is what I like to say. “Leads” or referral groups are great places to explore. This is where other people refer your mission to their associates. I am happy to brainstorm outreach opportunities with you – feel free to send an email to iwantto@soarwithnetworkfundraising.com and we can set up a time to talk. This is between friends.

A Plan: What does fundraising look like for your organization? You may already have a foundation to build upon and this can be good or bad. It depends on what has already happened in the past. Have people been appreciated for their gifts? Things to consider when developing your plan:

  • How much money by when?
  • Methods for raising money
  • Timeline for each method
  • Participants (Advocates)
  • Tracking
  • Maintaining focus

“Buck” was derived from pioneer times in America when deer (or buck) skins were used as currency. The richly textured and visually stunning animal was valued as cash, which today is not so attractive to imagine since money is dirty and covered with germs. I’m obviously used to looking at deer from a distance.

“The buck stops here” was a phrase used by President Harry S. Truman in speeches and it was meant to encourage people to take responsibility. I pass the buck (fundraising ideas) on to you, in a good way. Now, you have the power to listen to our President’s words of wisdom. Good luck and much success!

Successful Fundraisers Do THIS Three Times a Day

What could it be? Three times a day is fifteen times during a week if we’re talking about workdays. It is 780 times a year without taking a vacation. There is not a second that goes by where fundraisers think about vacation while on the job, right? It is all work and no play when it comes down to putting your nose to the grindstone. OUCH!

Share the mission of your organization three times a day, somewhere, in some way and you will develop more relationships than you ever imagined. Chances are you are presenting your mission to more than one person at any given time and then 780 times per year becomes much larger. On average – one presentation a month touches thirty people. That just raised your number to 1128 per year. Feel free to check my math.

These numbers make it real easy to connect with the right 226 people who are passionate about your organization. I am using the old formula of getting 80% of the results from 20% of the group. You may not be quite as optimistic and would prefer to go with 10% of the group, which is still a great number. 113 people can certainly make a huge difference for you when they tell 2 – 3 people about what you do. See how the numbers work? They are powerful.

Successful fundraisers share the mission three times a day. This can be during a phone conversation, through an email or newsletter. It may also be with someone who already knows about the mission and now they are getting updates on what’s new. Think three.

Building Bridges for Fundraising

Education is a matter of building bridges. Tell me, how are you educating people about your organization? Wouldn’t it be great to build bridges, which lead to paving the road for financial success? It can happen. And, you know your organization better than anyone else. Teach people what you know. Then, connect them with your mission and bridge the gap.

When you think back to your days in school you may not remember the techniques your teachers used. Personally, I don’t. The thing I do remember is this, and I paraphrase, “Knowledge is not needing to know everything, it’s knowing where to look to find the things you need.”

Google found the following steps on how to teach others. I’ve added the definitions:

  1. Exposure – Share your message with others by adding it into friendly conversation
  2. Application – Offer opportunities
  3. Feedback – Accept what people say and see things from their perspective. Their feedback allows for #4
  4. Correction – Respect your program and appreciate the need for adjustments/course corrections to make it better
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until…
  6. Mastery!

Upon reaching mastery you have built a bridge with the people you have shared your program with or exposed it to. They are now involved as a builder. You’ve accepted their participation level and now, it is time to respect and thank them. In the end the program will SOAR because it is built in. Can you see how BOLDLY you can stand out above the rest? Have fun teaching and bridging the gap.