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September 2021

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 sep 2021

With changing donor behaviors and perceptions, nonprofits should modify their fundraising strategies to stay successful and impactful in the communities they serve. Annual galas, glossy annual reports, generic charity requests etc have been norms in charity fundraising. But, according to a new report, 'Transforming Partnerships With Major Donors' by the Leadership Story Lab, wealthy donors are now seeking new relationships and expecting innovative fundraising approaches from nonprofit organizations before donating. The report found that donors seek more personalized and customized pitches from nonprofits. Moreover, the report found that many self-made givers avoid public recognition of their donations and are more focused on making an impact and solving social problems that are close to their heart. Joe Pulizzi, a marketing and communications entrepreneur in Cleveland, got disillusioned with traditional ways of nonprofit fundraising and after joining the board of one nonprofit he found that much of the donated money was going to pay debt and covering significant overhead. This prompted him to start his own nonprofit and focus more on spending money where it is needed the most - in solving the social problem that nonprofit was set out for. Esther Choy, the president of the Leadership Story Lab and author of the report, said that gift officers didn't always know the potential donor's story and, instead of asking specific questions, led with a pitch about the greatness of their organization. Ms. Choy says, 'Sometimes everything feels too polished. If they can make their solicitation as human as possible, it would work better. It shouldn't be about putting someone on a pedestal.' Michael Wagner, co-founder of Omnia Family Wealth, says, 'People are really looking for something more than a transaction. It's about building a partnership based on a relationship. People used to be OK with just giving the money and being done with it, but that isn't the case anymore.' Mr. Pulizzi says, 'Many nonprofits have a kind of salesmanship that needs to go away. If the nonprofit is calling on someone with means, I think they need to form a better communication strategy so it's not a commercial. They need get to know that person and invest some time.' Many donors want a more educational approach to fundraising from nonprofits then just plain marketing. Tyson Voelkel, the president and chief executive of the Texas A&M Foundation, says, 'The more trust we can earn, the more money donors will give...We have to convince them that we're the best place to put their philanthropic dollars.' Read on...

The New York Times: Raising Money for a Nonprofit? Try a Personalized Approach
Author: Paul Sullivan



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