Why Friendraising Works Better Than Fundraising

Ok, I’m presenting a revolutionary concept today.

Board members of the Central Ohio Symphony love “Friendraising!”

And this idea just might have gotten me thrown out of fundraising ten years ago.

But now, I really do think that the fundraising profession may be more open to this idea. We’re coming around.

Here’s my revolutionary proposal to you:

I’d rather have Friends to my organization than Donors.

Yes, I’d rather have passionate, die-hard Friends to my cause than donors.

I know, I know – “Friends” are not going to keep your organization afloat.

You need more than friendship – you desperately need money!  Now more than ever.

But stick with me a minute and read on.

Here’s my question back to you:

If you had a bunch of passionate Friends for your organization – what would they do for your cause?

  • They’d stick with you.
  • They’d be loyal no matter what.
  • They’d bring in other friends.
  • They’d spread the word.

And when the going gets tough, where will your Friends be?

When the going gets tough, your Friends will stick with you!

  • Right there with you, doing whatever they can do to keep your cause afloat.

Will your Friends give you money?

  • Of course they’ll give money if they can.

So why don’t we focus on creating passionate Friends for our organization than just donors?

I’ve said this before:

The #1 goal of fundraising is to make your donors as PASSIONATE about your cause as you are.

And Friendmaking is what creates passionate supporters.

I propose to you that friendmaking is a kinder, gentler, more fun and MUCH more effective approach than fundraising.

Friendmaking is a more SUSTAINABLE way to raise money.

Because it puts the emphasis where it needs to be – on the relationship with the individual person.

And because  – most importantly – it seeks more out of the person than just money.

Friendmaking is a winning strategy because it treats donors like real PEOPLE and not like WALLETS.

Friendmaking is good manners because it asks for MORE than just money.

You are asking for the person’s help, their participation, their involvement, their good ideas. And then the money will come.

And we all know the old fundraising adage:

Involvement Leads to Investment.

Try turning your current DONORS into your Friends.

Why don’t you focus on your current donors and make Friends out of them – so they’ll stick with you and renew their gifts.

Why don’t you approach your donors like family – like long-lost friends.

And over-communicate with them. Invite them to special parties and events.

Give them behind the scenes tours.

Give them special donor/briefings about what you are doing and the challenges your organization faces. Ask them to volunteer and help you out.

If you treat your donors like friends, they’ll give more and stick with you longer.

Friendmaking is simply a more successful way to do fundraising.

Board members love “Friendraising.”

You know that I work a lot with boards around the country and North America.

And many board members worry fundraising is all about “hitting people up for money.”

Worse, many volunteers think it’s about “asking strangers for money.”  (Cold calls = fate worse than death!)

We know that fundraising is NOT about asking for money – it’s about changing the world.

Nervous board members think fundraising = cold calls.

When we make it all about money – we lessen our impact.

We lower ourselves.

Changing the world has you standing high up on the hill, shining with purpose and light. You attract people and energy to you.

Seeking money puts you down in the swamp where fundraising is transactional – like buying and selling. It’s easy to repel people.

And good fundraising is emphatically never about money.

We are never just asking for money – we are asking someone to join us to make our community better – to solve a problem – to change or save lives.

Shame on us if we make it all about the money.

Board members have all these myths about fundraising that make it difficult and scary.

Why not try Friendraising with your board?

It’s a wonderful approach if you are trying to get your board members involved in fundraising.  It’s fun. And it’s accessible.

We genuinely DO want Friends for our organization – whether they give money or not.

I tell board members that their real job is to find die-hard friends for their cause.

I tell them to put the idea of money and asking – over to the side.

Friendraising Creates Energy and Enthusiasm for the Cause

Board members can be very comfortable making friends for the cause, because it removes the dark notion of “asking for money.”

Friendraising takes the fear away from fundraising.

This idea takes the fear away from fundraising for many board members.

Volunteers can embrace the idea of just piling everybody they know on your organization’s bandwagon.

Volunteers can embrace a fight for the cause. A fight for what they believe in. A fight for what they know is right.

Now THAT’s the way to put some energy behind your board’s friendmaking efforts.

Bottom Line: Friendraising Works!

Refocus your – and your boards’s efforts on Friendraising and you just may unleash a tidal wave of energy for your cause.

Comments:  This post is really my personal manifesto – it’s my philosophy and my practice. And it goes over very, very well.

What do you think??  Let me know!