Are you ready for the future of fundraising?

A child is wearing a homemade jet pack in front of a drawn planet background

My mind was blown this morning when I opened my calendar and booked my first meeting of 2020.

My first thought was – *2020!?!*

If you asked my ’80s kid self, I’d confidently tell you I’d be using my handy jetpack to get to that meeting - or maybe teleporting there like my Star Trek: The Next Generation hero (and #1 leadership role model) Jean-Luc Picard.

While 2020 may not be full of flying cars, like I imagined – it is going to bring a lot of change for us fundraisers.

And the countdown is on – only three months left until we blast off into 2020!

Are you ready for what the future of fundraising will bring?

Read on to discover how you can make 2020 your best fundraising year yet.

1. You’ll need to start fundraising like an entrepreneur

Great entrepreneurs are excellent problem solvers – the most successful ones can identify the biggest pain points of their customers and offer solutions to help alleviate that pain.

Could it be that great fundraisers are also in the business of helping their donors find solutions to their biggest problems?

No matter what your cause, chances are you’re working towards solving a seemingly intractable problem – and when you find donors who care equally about that problem, you’ve found your fundraising sweet spot.

I know, our organizations are often addressing complex issues with multiple root causes – poverty and climate change are not problems that come with simple solutions.

But I guarantee you that some element of your mission and work alleviates one or more pain points for your donor. And if you haven’t figured that out yet, this is a great opportunity to tap into your inner entrepreneur and do some detective work.

2. They’ll be more competition than ever…

At least, there will be if you’re fixated on the concept of competition between charities.

Sure, there are a lot of great causes out there, doing amazing work, and raising big bucks.

But that doesn’t automatically mean there’s less for you!

Us fundraisers spend too much time worrying – what other charities are we up against? Do they have a bigger piece of the fundraising pie than us? How can we compete with larger organizations with so many more resources than us?

This kind of scarcity mindset is one of the biggest scourges of our sector.

Forget about the competition! If you channel that same energy into taking just one action that makes you a better fundraiser today than you were yesterday, you’ll always come out ahead.

3. Silo busting will become mission critical

With the increasing sophistication of fundraising tactics, it’s going to be more important than ever to make sure you’re breaking down those silo walls.

Silos can happen at any size shop – at bigger shops, you often see silos developing between the team leading annual giving, and the team leading major gifts. At smaller to mid sized shops, you can see these barriers coming up between program delivery and fundraising.

Exactly what they look like doesn’t really matter – the important thing is, they always get in the way of your donor experience and are going to hold you back from greater fundraising success.

How can you make 2020 the Year of Silo Busting at your organization? Well, you can take responsibility for taking the first step for building a bridge with a colleague who’s in a different silo than you.

Invite someone on another team out for lunch or coffee to get to know them better.

Get curious, and ask about the big challenges in their work – what’s keeping them up at night, and how might you be able to help?

Perhaps you can initiate a small joint project between teams where you’re working towards a shared goal.

However you do it, the fundraising of the future will require you to take action to break down those walls that are holding your fundraising back.

4. Your systems will determine your success

All great fundraising is underpinned by solid systems.

I recently read a great description of what a system is, and I share the abridged version here:

A fundraising system is simply a process for predictably achieving a goal based on specific, repeatable principles and practices.

I know, I know! A lot of us don’t like to think about boring old systems when it comes to our fundraising.

Great fundraising is about relationships! Inspiration! Connection! Great storytelling! More donor love!

All of this is true.

But you know what’s even more true?

You won’t be able to take your fundraising to the next level until you develop practical, deliberate, step-by-step systems to support your important work.

How are you planning on making 2020 your best fundraising year yet? It’s never too early to think about the future of fundraising – even if you’re not going to be teleporting to your next donor meeting quite yet!

Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraising expert with 20+ years experience raising millions of dollars across the arts, education, health and human services sectors. If you want to raise more 5, 6 and even 7-figure donations your non-profit, you can download Emma’s free Blueprint for Major Gift Success, and learn the 4 crucial steps to raising big gifts (at any size shop!)

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