By Amy Liefer, President, Prosper Advising, Inc.

It’s a new week and a new month, so what steps are you taking to create fundraising success? By doing these five easy things, you will create a donor pipeline which will build your fundraising program and bring success with it.

Pick up the phone! Make a point to call some of your donors today. While thank you letters are a must there’s nothing like a personal phone call to really show your appreciation. Many donors don’t expect it, but when it happens it touches them in a way that increases cultivation tenfold. Nonprofit organizations should have a list of donors to make personal contact with. My favorite is my weekly 10-2 list. I make a list each Friday of 10 donors I will call the following week and two donors I will personally go visit. Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Personal connection is what keeps donors coming back. Take the time to make those connections.

Build the pipeline. Now that you’ve taken care of the folks that are already giving you money, where will you find the next donor? Without a pipeline the development process will slowly erode away. I’m a huge fan of lists, as long as you act on them. Take the time each week to research new grants, foundations, corporations and individuals you haven’t connected with but want to meet. You don’t have to conquer the world in a single week, but coming up with a list of three to five new potential donors is a great way to ensure there’s always water in the well. Read the local business section of your newspaper. Subscribe to trade journals which focus on your region. Do Google searches if you don’t have access to anything else. Whatever your method, do the research and reach out to those people to see if you can get in front of them and tell your story.

Catch up on paperwork. We all hate paperwork. Data entry is the least desirable part of our job. But it’s an absolute necessity, especially for small organizations where staff members wear many hats and are doing the bulk of this work themselves. It’s tempting to let the paperwork pile up, but doing so makes your job that much harder. Your database is only as good as the information put into it – garbage in, garbage out. By keeping your information up to date you give yourself the advantage of pulling valuable tidbits out whenever you need them. We all think we can go weeks without entering information and still retain the details of a particular meeting or discussion. The likelihood is we won’t. Make your notes while they are fresh in your head and put them in a place that is organized and easily accessible. Whether you’re working out of Raiser’s Edge or an Excel spreadsheet, your database should be up to date.

Smile. I know this sounds trite, but a smile goes a long way. Sometimes we get so bogged down with getting our job done, we forget how far a smile can get us. For those of us at the helm of a nonprofit organization, our staff are watching us and taking cues from us at every turn. Something as simple as a smile can re-energize and motivate your staff. Volunteers and donors need to see it, too. They need to know that we love what we’re doing and they should want to be a part of it.

Need help re-energizing your staff, creating a strategic work plan, or establishing a donor pipeline? Let’s connect and I’ll show you how Prosper Advising can help!