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Fundraising the SMART Way: Predictable, Consistent Income Growth for Your Charity, + Website by Ellen Bristol

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Chapter 1The Context for Fund Development

Nonprofit fundraising people and corporate salespeople share quite a few characteristics. They both tend to be outgoing, positive, oriented toward the future, and not afraid to ask for money. They are social beings. These characteristics, plus the ability to work late, are prerequisites for fundraising professionals; think of how many events they have to attend!

But there's also something that both share that's not so great, and that's the challenge of figuring out which prospects justify their attention. Both salespeople and fundraising people are heavily motivated by the desire, not to mention the need, to close the next deal. For the salesperson, there's usually a commission hanging on the end of the next sale. For the fundraiser, commissions are not the driving force, but the combination of altruism—your commitment to the mission—and practicality—keeping your job—replaces commissions reasonably well. But think of what happens if you win the gift, but the donor is impossible to deal with; you get the grant, but the reporting requirements are too onerous; or the corporation agrees to underwrite your event but demands unrealistic concessions from you.

A poor return on effort and a leakier bucket—that's what happens. These examples are all instances of fundraising effort that's more tactical than it is strategic. They hide the possibility that winning those particular deals might bring in some cash today but poke you in the eye later. ...

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