The Value of Friendship

People give to people, not organizations.<—- Jodi told me that two years ago and it stuck with me ever since.

During my time at BET Networks International, I quickly learned the benefit of building strong relationships with colleagues, vendors and industry associates to make things happen quickly and efficiently. The same goes for the public sector: It’s not what you know, but who you know.

As a Junior Board member for New York Cares and chair of various fundraising projects, I have been fortunate to be able to leverage my relationships as a basis for support. Whether my relationship with the donor is personal or professional, I realize the support is a result of our ties. On the other hand, if a blind solicitation comes through, you better believe I’ve done my part to make sure they get to know me- not just receive an email once a year.

That said, relationships matter in fundraising just like they do in our personal lives. If you think you can just email a donor once a year asking for money. You are sadly mistaken.

I came across the most timely of articles via Twitter on agitator.net. YAY Social Media! The article briefly talks about the necessity of building strong relationships from the start to keep donors. Bingo!!!! Here are their tips. Take note:

  1. Make it timely.
  2. Make it personal … and not just the salutation.
  3. This is not a test. The package should not rattle off a series of facts and figures.
  4. Offer a virtual tour.
  5. Credential yourself.
  6. Encourage feedback, comments and criticism.
  7. Be brief.

Friends of Ebonie Tip: Show your appreciation by sending a hand-written thank you card! (Updated on 4/5/2012)

(They got their tips from Fundraising Success Mag. I also suggest you read the original article.)

Bottom line is, I know money does not grow in trees. Therefore, I am humbled at the sacrifice people and organizations make in part because I ask. I’m sure they wouldn’t give to just any ol’ place but I am grateful they also believe in the causes I believe in too! I value my relationships with my donors so I will make sure they know it’s not just about their donation, but my genuine appreciation for their friendship.

Make it a great day and tell someone who supports you, thank you.

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