Fundraising Expert To Help Clients Open Up A Powerful New Revenue Source

By Tim Gunsolley, Exceed Fundraising Counsel

We sell our constituents short if we believe generosity stops after payment for services. If that were true, universities would never ask their alumni for a gift. Hospitals would only charge for services and not contributions. And museums and zoos would survive ONLY on admission and membership fees.

When my kids were young, a friend gave us high-quality bows and arrows. That he was the CEO of one of the premier archery companies in America helped. (But that’s another story).

We quickly took to the archery range shooting at targets both far and near. On one lucky excursion, I hit the bullseye – the absolute center of the target. I took a picture of the rare accomplishment and sent it to our generous benefactor. He was duly impressed, I’m sure.

Little did I know that the “bullseye” has such importance in the world of fundraising.

The target, with its expanding concentric circles, is an excellent visual aid for your fundraising program. In the bullseye are people served by your organization. These are the parents and family members of your participants. They know first-hand how much you’ve helped their teen.

The ring beyond the center might be grandparents, extended family members, staff members, and friends of the one served.

Finally, the outer edges of the target might represent people that generally care about the services you provide; people whose teen was served by another, but similar school, or community folks who know the good you do, perhaps foundations that provide funds for the cause you help, or churches which support programs through their benevolence fund or other unique offerings. Finally, people who know and respect you, your leadership or board are also excellent prospects to give. After all, as the adage reminds us, “people give to people – justified by a cause.”

Some organizations routinely make a mistake by asking people to give who aren’t even “on the target.” Similarly, many organizations also ignore those closest to the bullseye, making the costly assumption that since the family has already paid for their son or daughter to attend your program, they must not be interested in donating as well.

The story is told about a janitor who worked at a university for more than 30 years – it was his life’s work. He never made more than minimum all the years of her labor. But at his death university leaders were surprised to learn he left the school more than a million dollars in his will. He loved the school with a passion – it was his cause – but no one bothered to get to know him well enough to discern his love for the school while he was living.

The principle here is that people who are served well often naturally respond with gratitude evidenced by giving to the organization that made such a difference in their child. Too often we’re just afraid or unskilled in asking. So go ahead, graciously, but confidently invite your constituents to consider making a gift so your programs can grow and continue to serve even more young people.

Because, after all, changing a life is hitting the bullseye.

Click here for Tim’s free 20 minute webinar “The Top 5 Deadly Diseases of Major Gift Fundraising”