Are You Using the Not-About-Money Nonprofit Fundraising Success Driver?

Are You Using the Not-About-Money Nonprofit Fundraising Success Driver?Fundraising success is an art and a science. Fortunately, when you get the science right, you create lots of room to become skillful at the art. Both maximize your fundraising returns.


Below, you’ll read about another fundraising success driver. A driver, part of the science of fundraising, is a habitual activity that creates a climate that inspires donor engagement. In many ways, drivers are like the highways around and transportation options at Disney World. They provide quick ways for donors and supporters to arrive, linger, and get to the good stuff at your nonprofit.


This post explores a stewardship habit that keeps your donors engaged after they arrive at your door. (Follow this link to read about the four drivers that bring donors to you and this link to the Opportunities to Make Friends Fundraising Success Driver.)


The Not-About-Money Fundraising Success Driver

Here’s a common nonprofit mistake that actually drives donors away: post-donation “tricks.” Tricks are invitations that are camouflaged contribution requests. For one example, read Does Your Nonprofit Make Dirty Asks?


The Not-About-Money Driver, in contrast, is not a trick. It’s a straightforward offer of value. You invite your donors because they’re your donors. You build this driver over time by presenting donors with an array of mission-related activities that inform, inspire, and enhance their lives. Because everyone who contributes is different, this variety allows supporters to pick their favorite way to interact.


Non-monetary opportunities are a tool that belongs front and center in your donor stewardship toolkit. To be powerful, this kit must include more than thank you notes and recognition. You need tools to transform everyday donors into educated, committed, and thoughtful donors, aka partners.


So you’re thinking, how exactly do these non-donation opportunities drive fundraising results?


Here’s how. People want to know their gifts were received, to know that their opinions count, and that their gifts mattered. When they accept your post-donation invitations, you show them they and their gift matter, and often, how the gift helped, plus you establish listening opportunities.


Over time, their participation presents you numerous opportunities to learn about their interests and then match gift opportunities to these inclinations. Your insights maximize the number of contributions you receive.


This driver generates active, engaged, and informed donors who “get” your work and needs. When done well, it primes the pump for future contributions. When done very well, it generates donations that donors volunteer because they “get” the need.


In Let’s Raise Nonprofit Millions Together (see below for more about the book), I share an example of not-about-money activities from the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. At the Center near the end of their pledges, major donors are treated to a catered no-ask lunch with the executive director and board chair—a straight-forward offer of value. The payoff? High renewal rates, loyalty, and an increased likelihood of the donor becoming a Kravis goodwill.



If you panicked at the thought of adding an event to your calendar, read on.

You might offer luncheons or new events as part of this driver, but that might be silly with your schedule. You’ll be delighted to learn that you probably already offer or can quickly provide opportunities that inform, inspire, and uplift donors. For example, in an email, you read a new research article with results that support the approach you use. You send a paragraph about recent research, a link, and why you found the research significant in your regular donor CEO update. When you set up a call with the researchers as part of your professional education, you invite interested donors to join you.


The key to making this driver work? Make not-about-money donor engagements a regular activity.


How are you engaging your current donors in no-ask opportunities? How will you make this driver one of your organization’s habits?



If you’d like to know more about firing up this or any of the seven fundraising success drivers in your nonprofit, please don’t hesitate to set up a time to talk. I’d love to partner with you to get these drivers delivering money into your budget.

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