As many of you know from my previous posts, I was a fundraiser for a parochial school in my former life.
One fall, I came up with this bright idea to invite a few donors and prospective donors to the school’s fall festival, bon fire, and hay ride.
My motive was to show the school in action, the great students, facilities, and impact they might be able to make – all in an atmosphere of fun.
Well, needless to say, “fun” means different things to different people.
In my group was a middle-aged lady and her husband who were a part of the school neighborhood. My group joined the hay ride and things quickly went out of control as hay started flying and a good nature hay war erupted! When the smoked cleared, this lovely middle-aged lady was covered in hay, hair a mess, and looking completely disheveled.
I was mortified.
We arrived at the bon fire and disembarked the hay carnage. I helped the couple down from the wagon and they were, surprisingly, smiling from ear to ear! The lady gave me a hug and told me how much fun that was.
Sharing some apple cider around the camp fire, I was able to tell a bit about the school and the building campaign we were embarking on. They said they would be so happy to join in and help.
For some reason, there seems to be an invisible drawn line to keep the fundraiser and donor relationship “professional.” But why? Looking back on my fundraising days, I truly developed some great friendships with most of the supporters of my school! We had fun together, in addition to the “professional” interactions.
Friendships can develop with your donors!
Keep in mind:
1. Successful fundraising is built on strong donor relationships
2. Strong donor relationships develop exactly like a friendship develops
3. Friendships develop with shared time, interests, and commonality
4. Commonality needs to be genuine where each are free to be who there are
5. Being who you are with donors allows you to share passion
6. Passion is the lifeblood for donations
So have some fun with your donors and prospective donors. Who knows, you might just become friends!