Fundraising challenges come at you from all directions.
Sometimes the most disheartening and difficult challenge is the resistance you might receive from your co-workers. At some stage you’ve probably witnessed the other staff in your charity complain about fundraising or felt their lack of support and interest. You might even have felt alone in your organization. Look around the staff meeting…are you the only fundraiser?
It doesn’t have to be us and them.
With a bit of ‘internal marketing’ you can get your co-workers on your side… and even get them happily fundraising for you. Here are five tips:
1. Send Updates To Staff
Consider sending monthly or even weekly updates to everyone in your organization. It doesn’t need to be a comprehensive newsletter, but a quick e-mail talking about something that’s happened or something you’re planning.
Follow similar rules to when you communicate with your donors: centre your news on your staff. Why does it matter to them? Why should they feel great? What can they do to help? What are their goals and what are they trying to achieve?
It seems crazy, but sometimes being inside the organization can make it really difficult for nonprofit workers to see what they’re achieving. Show them in the same way you show your donors. I introduced this in one organization and within a year nearly half of the staff had signed up to be monthly donors…inspired by their own work and now donating towards their own salaries!
2. Feedback Successes
In particular let your co-workers know about fundraising successes…and make it about them. That large donation didn’t come in because you’re a great fundraiser…it came in because the donor recognised how important the work is and what a great job the staff are doing. Thank them for that.
You might be surprised what works. I remember staff being unimpressed with a four-figure donation from a company they’d never heard of, but a few free Facebook ads were incredible to them. It felt like Facebook had noticed us and the work we were doing!
3. Work With Them… Not Against
You can’t make people do something they don’t want to do…and why would you want to? Don’t expect staff to fundraise for you or shake buckets for you or go to your stupid Harry Potter quiz at the end of a hard week working with vulnerable people.
Instead try to get them involved in a way that suits them. This can take time but is going to be much more productive for you. Can they introduce you to a corporate connection? Have they been meaning to take part in a 5km run? Do they want to bake cakes and decorate the room for your Thank-You Day?
Help them be successful with what interests them and you’ll see them step up to help in other ways. And those that don’t…Hey, fundraising isn’t for everyone. Leave them to it and wait for them to come round themselves when they see others involved.
4. Humanize Your Donors
Fundraisers are a bridge…linking your staff and beneficiaries with the general public. You know that part of your role is to show the good work you do to your supporters. But it’s also your job to inform your staff on what your supporters are saying and doing.
If you’re not already doing it, asking your donors and the general public for their own stories, their messages of support and their thoughts is a great way to increase supporter engagement. But then sharing those inspiring words and stories with your co-workers is a great way to motivate them and get them on your side.
Nonprofit staff can find it difficult to look outside. But you can easily bring the sunshine to them.
5. Meet Your Staff and Board One-on-One
Maybe you’re given opportunities to address the staff or speak at Board meetings. That’s great. But by only addressing the group as a whole you’re missing out on opportunities.
Make time to sit down with staff members one-on-one and understand what their goals are. Build a relationship and build trust. Likewise, invite each member of the Board out for coffee. You’ll learn more about them in 30 minutes then you will in 10 years of Board meetings.
Through these one-on-one meetings you’ll begin to understand your staff and Board better, and understand how you can best help each other.
As if you didn’t have enough to do already!
But by putting the time in to motivating the non-fundraisers in your organization you’ll see better relationships and better results. And banging your head against the wall will be a thing of the past.
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