Working Collaboratively with Donors
1. Involve Trusted Donors
- Key to planning a successful collaborative fundraising event is involving donors in the planning and execution. Ask for their advice and involvement, and ask early. Include them in meetings with staff and youth artists and integrate their perspectives.
2. Ask Donors to Work Together
- Many donors don’t know the other people involved in the nonprofits they support. They also may not realize that there’s an entire sector of organizations working together in your community. Invite them to meet one another and talk about their work and why they are passionate about youth arts. Ask them to share some of their giving practices. Facilitate introductions among donors and offer to arrange future meetings.
- Outcomes include deeper investment in your organization, a greater desire to learn about and fund youth arts, more strategic donor practices, potential ambassadors for your collaborative fundraising, and deeper relationships among everyone involved. Who knows, they may form their own donor coalition!
3. Employ Donor Strategies That Work
- Have booths and tables at your collaborative fundraising event that help move interactions from transactions to relationships. Have creative activities at your table, not just organizational collateral materials. Encourage conversation, humor, and shared art making between youth, staff, and donors.
- Prepare youth artists to work the booths, welcome people, and offer assistance with things like coats and directions. Invite youth to talk with donors throughout the evening. Give your youth a “crash course” in donor relations, and remind them to shake hands, make eye contact, ask good questions, and share a story about their art and their arts organization, and why it is important to them.
- Have exhibits and performances put on by youth artists from various organizations.
- Secure anchor gifts for your organization.
- Prep donors in advance about who they’ll be meeting, share your collaborative fundraising strategy, and ask them to consider new gifts at the event.
- Give staff, donors, and board members clear roles and responsibilities. Examples: Each board member has a goal of connecting with three donors they don’t know; every staff person is assigned a donor, whom they can actively introduce to at least one other organization; have a cross section of board members jointly welcome guests.
- Pull together a group of major donors to create a matching pool for the event. Matches create incentives, urgency, and energy.
- Create shared materials for your event.
- Send personalized thank-you notes, add donors to your mailing list, and ask your board members and youth volunteers to call new donors.