ATTENTION: Having a nonprofit CRM system isn’t a magic fundraising wand.
As pretty as it looks and how organized it feels, technology can’t raise money by itself.
I know, I know, you got it so you could have the most perfect moves management system and donor prospect reports, etc. And don’t worry, I love a good moves management system so I’m not suggesting you cancel that subscription.
But here’s the problem:
Somehow, in the transition to getting yourself up and running on your CRM system (or your flashy Excel document if you’re still there), you started to believe that there was something called ‘perfect data.’
I watch nonprofit leaders every day tell me that they will fundraise as soon as their ‘data is cleaned up.’
Some of these nonprofits are on old CRM systems, some of them just joined Bloomerang (welcome!).
BUT, what I want to warn you about is the trap that the quest for perfect data can lead you to as well.
Because perfection is a complete illusion. Your data has likely been touched by many human hands and guess what, every human in the history of forever is imperfect.
Why does it matter to ditch perfectionism when it comes to donor data?
When we put too much pressure on our data, we have the ability to actually use data as an excuse for why we aren’t fundraising more.
Where’s that monkey with his hands over his mouth emoji when you need him? ?
Have you ever heard or said something like this:
- “I’ll reach out as soon as I know who the best 20 prospects are”
- “I’ll start that campaign as soon as I’m able to clean up last year’s data”
- “Well, I don’t know if I can have that meeting because I know we’re missing data on her and what if I say something wrong because we don’t have notes about the last meeting anywhere”
Do you see what’s happening here?
Your brain is making up stories ABOUT the data that are holding you back from actually fundraising (i.e. actually talking to donors).
The Trap of Over Prospecting
Many nonprofits over-prospect every single day.
Fundraising is scary and over prospecting means we’re avoiding action.
It’s a pretty bad combination.
So I want to give you two tips from inside my Power Partners Formula program so that you can stop all the prospecting and start raising more money.
Tips to Stop Prospecting and Start Raising Money
1. Understand that data is an imperfect tool to leverage but not live by. You need to have awareness about whether or not you are using data to support your work, or as an excuse that’s holding you back. When you find yourself procrastinating about reaching out to donors, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s at stake with reaching out to that donor?
- Is the goal for my data a realistic goal or is it a goal I’ve set to avoid the scarier action of setting up donor meetings and inviting donors to participate in our work?
- What’s at stake if I start setting up donor meetings before I know my top 20 donors?
- What’s TRULY driving my desire to fix certain data before taking action? Is it driven by fear or rational thought?
2. Use my Five and Dive System
- Inside Power Partners I only let my students prospect five prospects at a time before I make them start outreach. Because guess what, you don’t need your whole Foundation list done before you start setting up meetings. Why do you think you need to know every corporate sponsor you’re going to reach out to before you start sending emails? These beliefs are holding you back from taking action. And the most important thing you can do as a fundraiser is to always stay in the action of engaging and inviting (or what you might call asking).
The moral of the story: fundraising tools are great but only if you use them for good. The moment your tools become your excuses, they’ve lost their fundraising superpowers and so have you.
I know it’s scary to send those emails, I know it’s scary to make those asks. But you are the money movers that will lead us to the world that we all want to see. I have your back, and so does Bloomerang. Let’s do this, my fearless fundraisers!