Episode 18 | Fundraising FREEDOM Step 7: Make Your Difference


This step is what all of your hard work has been leading up to.  You’re raising funds, asking people to be part of your team, building out your branding and the reason is that you’re trying to make a difference in the world.  Once you get here, this is the time to celebrate!  You’re seeing lives changed and now you get to tell people all about it and thanking everyone who took part.  This is a really fun step and one that too many people miss.

How do we celebrate with the team?

If you haven’t read the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman, you should check it out.  In the book, the author outlines 5 different love languages which are, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.  Everyone has a primary love language.  You need to find ways to incorporate all these love languages with your team as well as donors.  Thank you notes, awards or plaques, or even hugs and handshakes are ways to show appreciation to your people.

How do we know a donor’s love language?

People will typically tell you.  It comes back to running your research and drawing broad observations from minute details.  If they give you a gift, they like gifts.  If they give you words of affirmation, they like words of affirmation.  All you’re doing is watching how they communicate with you and that will tell you how to communicate with them.  I had a donor tell me once that we should have given warm cookies at Christmas time – more than likely his love language is gifts. 

What can we do to make sure we are thanking people the right way?

As much as I’m trying to pay attention to everyone, it is very challenging when you have hundreds of donors.  It’s just not practical.  So, I make sure at Christmas I do something special for the top sponsors like maybe a gift certificate and a bottle of wine as an example.  And I hand-delivered them.  After every fundraiser each year, I hosted a thank-you banquet.  I had a chairperson for the thank-you party and they were responsible for printing out all the plaques, every sponsor got their recognition, anyone who gave over $10,000 got a special award, we incorporated all of that. 

Do you have any other takeaways for success?

Freedom means to act, think, and speak without holding back.  All 7 of my steps are leading to that.  We talked last week about the power money has and I know how easy it is to go down a path because you had a donor who wanted to go down a path.  I don’t ever want money to control your organization.  I want your strategic plan to control your organization and you just happen to need money to fulfill that plan.  My steps all come back to what freedom looks like for you and your cause.  And then put your head down and go to work toward that.  When it comes down to it, it’s about building relationships with the right people and inviting them to feel like this is their thing too.

Resources from this episode:

Strategic Plan Toolkit

Fundraising Freedom Roadmap

The 5 Love Languages book

Connect with Mary:

Mary Valloni

Mary’s book: Fundraising Freedom

Connect with Joel:

Joel Kessel

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