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Fundraising Tip: Get Out of the Office

Going to community events and off-site meetings is good for you and your organization.

There are times when those in nonprofit fundraising need to be in the office.

These days, those times are far and few between.

Your donors and community members are not in the office. Your potential donors are not in the office. And those who know nothing about your organization or your amazing mission are not in the office.

Depending on your leadership, or the person you report to, being out of the office a lot may or may not be comfortable for them. Old-style leadership means you being there and them (and staff) seeing you.

This does not support successful relationship building and fundraising.

A good day could look like this:

Start off at a local chamber of commerce breakfast. I love my local chamber and the opportunity to talk about philanthropy and how nonprofits change the world. Don’t leave right away, hang out and make sure you have connected with as many people as possible.

Then head into the office. Yes, you’ll be arriving “late” (what horror!), and now you have time to check in with your team, respond to emails and meet with the program staff.

Before you know it it’s lunch time and you’re off to lunch with a donor. Whena donor says yes to lunch, you know you’re in relationship. No one is going to give you as much time as lunch takes if they are not interested in supporting your mission.

Lunch was perfect and now back to the office.

No.

Go to your favorite coffee house, the one where you know everyone, and hop into your email. After that you have time to work on the e-appeal you want to send in a couple of weeks.

For some donors and community supporters, mid-afternoon is a perfect time to meet. After you have finished the draft of the e-appeal head to your next meeting, which here in southern California could be a juice bar or a park overlooking the ocean.

Going for a walk or a hike with a donor is a perfect way to build relationship. Donors love it.

There are dozens of ways to support all of your fundraising efforts outside of the office. Get creative. Go where your community supporters and donors are. Meet people where they want to meet.

Of course there are times when you want to do a site tour and spend time with staff. None of that takes long. Being out and about is always beneficial to your mission.

There are some reading this who may be thinking “my boss will never go for this”. I hope this is not the case for most. Leadership hopefully trusts you, and you being out of the office will affect the relationships and fundraising that support your organization’s mission.

That’s a promise!

Take a risk. Be of service. Support your friends and colleagues. Be kind.

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