Fundraising from the Marketing Department
I believe that fundraising and marketing are really about the same things: telling a story and building a relationship.
Having worked in a marketing world for my relatively short career, I volunteered to chair our new marketing committee at our Camp Fire council. This makes sense, as I’m far more experienced in this arena than anyone else in our organization. I brought in some volunteers with a variety of experiences, including writers, advertising, PR, and small business owners. We’re starting at ground zero. It’s going to be fun. More on this in another article.
In a much less logical move, I have also been appointed/volunteered to serve as chair of our fundraising committee. I have absolutely no experience with fundraising. Other than a nascent interest in the subject and an overwhelming desire to dive into a new subject and overextend myself again, there’s no reason I should be the one to take this committee on. Oh, and the fact that there’s nobody else to do it.
So what makes me think I can do this? Because I believe that fundraising and marketing are really about the same things: telling a story and building a relationship. Donors and customers don’t care about you, they care about the product. As a non-profit, your product is the benefit you create for them.
Some (hopefully) familiar marketing concepts
- Retention: It’s easier to keep a donor/customer than it is to gain a new one
- Relation: Tell a story that relates to your donor/customer
- Information: Keep your donor/customer informed about (and this is important!) what you are doing for them
- Inspiration: Inspire your donor/customer to act – not by begging them, but by making it easier to say yes than it would be to say no
From this starting point, it starts to seem a bit more reasonable that a programmer/project manager/marketer/entrepreneur might try his hand at fundraising. Doesn’t it?