The 5 p’s of engagement fundraising

MarketSmart characters
MarketSmart lightbulb icon

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

1- Permission
Donors have immense power these days. They can ignore your communications!  The best way to ensure that they don’t exercise that power is to gain their permission to communicate with them. Having a list of 100,000 matters little if no one engages with your outreach.
You can gain permission if you develop content (engagement experiences, tools, widgets, videos, workbooks, apps, etc.) that provides value to your target audience of potential donors. As they benefit from what you’re providing, ask them to consider opting-in to have a relationship.
Then ask them to tell you about their interests and passions so you can do your best to communicate with them relevantly. The best way to do that is with a survey.
2- Personalization
If you think personalization is about putting a person’s name on a letter or email, think again. It’s about a lot more than that.
Once you’ve gained permission, you must prove over and over that you won’t abuse the privilege you just attained by over-communicating irrelevantly. Show them that you care by demonstrating that you listened. Personalize your communications with relevant content and offers that reflect each individual’s interests and passions.
3- Participation
Involvement leads to commitment. Get people to participate!
Any level of association will do. Offer opportunities for arms-length participation such as a chance to view a webinar, hear a podcast or use an app. Or offer chances for deeper engagement such as board leadership, committee involvement, etc.
Wondering which participation offer to send to an individual? The offer should match their interests and consideration stage.
4- Persistence
Most fundraising is very short-sighted. Yet, the turtle beats the hare every time. If you are focused on the Pareto Principle (which you should be), remain slow and steady. Don’t give up and your persistence will pay off.
But remember to be novel. Persistence isn’t about redundancy. Don’t send the same thing to the same person over and over. Being creative and original will attract attention and interest.
5- Patience
Patience proves your commitment to success. It also proves that you care about your relationship with your supporters. You won’t push them too far, too fast just to get another donation. You won’t abuse the permission they granted.
It shows to your donors that you realize that great things take time and that their timetables matter more than yours because you care about them. Being patient confirms to them that you just want to make them feel good and you’re in it for the long haul— just like they want to be.

One response to “The 5 p’s of engagement fundraising”

  1. Laura Waller says:

    Permission is the best starting place, to be sure – – classic Seth Godin with the usual MarketSmart value added. Thanks for keeping this uncomplicated for us, Greg!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!