Plan for it to Take More Time

February 24, 2023

I have come to appreciate that time is the one commodity/asset that we can never replenish. One can always earn more money, or buy more goods, but you can never get back the time you have spent. But how does this relate to fundraising?

It used to be that when we solicited support from an individual, we solicited one individual who represented that family. More often than not, in the past, that role was the male head of the household. Over the past few decades, we have seen a shift to the couple making philanthropic decisions.

But let’s take this concept forward to the next generation. Mom and Dad Smith are in their eighties and have been supporting Charity ABC for decades. They are consistent supporters and can always be counted on for the generosity. They have brought their 5 children (now fully grown adults) to many events and their children seem to be pleased with the charity’s good works.

What used to be a single conversation with two people (Mom and Dad Smith) will now become five conversations (with each of the surviving children) for ostensibly the same gift. That is not a bad thing. I would even argue that it is a very good situation. With more people having a vested interest in the charity, sights will rise.

But, what may have taken one visit (and all the pre-planning, execution and post-planning associated with the visit) has now increased 500%. So, if a fundraiser in your shop has 75 individual donors that they deal with regularly, they could now have 375 donors. That is just a recipe for disaster (or donor disassociation with the charity). 375 folks is way too many people for a fundraiser to handle on their own and I can guarantee that some of these folks with “fall through the cracks”.

So, the fundraisers will need additional resources (i.e. more staff). As I have always maintained, it is better to think of hiring staff as an investment, not an expense. I wrote about that here. The surviving children may or may not wish to donate as a collective. Whatever the circumstance, the efforts involved have just increased dramatically.

So, plan for more staff to potentially raise the same amount of funds from the Mom and Dad Smith children’s generation. It is all about managing expectations.

Until next week.