[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]

September 13, 2017

Never Give Up

imageOne thing nonprofits can count on is that their campaigns will not go as planned. One client, who was expecting a multi-million-dollar gift that never materialized, was a great example of why it is never good to lose heart or give up hope, even in the face of disappointment.

Here's what to do when the gift you have been counting on falls through:

Don't let disappointment turn into resentment.
Don't let an entitlement mentality slip into your fundraising. Remember, the money was never yours. It was always the donor's money to give or to keep. You didn't lose anything. The mission is still important. There are still many prospects to identify, cultivate and solicit for gifts. Quickly turn your attention to the next task at hand.

Never give up on the donor who "got away."
Rather than taking one minute to nurse her disappointment, the nonprofit staff member made a concerted effort to keep the lost donor in the loop. She continued to cultivate the relationship as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. She did this without an expectation of the donor coming back around, but there was no reason to burn any bridges.

Use setbacks as an emotional springboard, not quick sand.
By continuing to work the plan, cultivate donor relationships and solicit gifts, the campaign gained momentum. Eventually, the potential donor had a change of heart and came back around with a gift. And since they had doubled-down on fundraising after the big gift hadn't materialized, the campaign ended up ahead of expectations once the one who "got away" came back with a gift.

This organization leveraged a setback to raise more money than if the multi-million-dollar gift had materialized on the front end. Too often, we allow discouragement to knock us back rather than to launch us forward. Bottom line: Never give up. Never.

Bud Cooper, Executive Vice President (Kansas City) bud@hartsookcompanies.com

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logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

Rogers, Ark.
September 20, 2017

AFP of Northwest Arkansas
Matthew J. Beem

London
September 21-22, 2017

Blackbaud Executive Summit, University of London
Adrian Sargeant

Las Vegas
September 26-28, 2017

14th Annual Association of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Quincy, Ill.
October 12, 2017

Tri-State Area Fundraising Professionals Board
Janell Johnson

Scotland, U.K.
October 23-25, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Kansas City
October 26, 2017

Nonprofit Connect
Building a Culture of Philanthropy
Karin Cox

Wichita, Kan.
November 16, 2017

AFP Greater Wichita Chapter
Supporting Sponsor: Hartsook

Scotland, U.K.
February 7-9, 2018

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Minneapolis
February 28-March 3, 2018

ALDE IGNITE International Conference
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Past Stops on the Tour


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Hartsook has pushed and challenged the status quo, and nobody in the world has had a greater impact on the fundraising profession than Bob Hartsook. The strategies shared in $231 Billion Raised and Counting are the culmination of Bob's many years as a fundraiser, consultant, and philanthropist - as he and co-authors Matthew J. Beem and Karin Cox bring together insights from the many consultants who make up the extraordinary Hartsook team. Go here to purchase your copy for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).


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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, kcox@hartsookcompanies.com. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact info@hartsookcompanies.com.

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