No matter the size of your organization, the members of your team are in constant discussion about it. From face-to-face conversations to emails, WhatsApp chats, and whatever other forms of communication you use, these discussions are happening whether you know about them or not.
Now, imagine if you added fundraising to those conversations. Even the occasional mention of your fundraising goals can be enough to get the ball rolling. For non-profits and large corporations alike, fundraising is all about building the right culture. It’s also the key to some significant benefits that simply can’t be overlooked.
If you’re not sure why or how to create a company culture of fundraising within your organization, here’s everything you need to know.
Why build a fundraising culture in your company?
Fundraising is often considered as something that only non-profits have to do, and that SMEs only do when an individual employee is raising money for a specific cause. Sticking to that worldview is a mistake that can easily leave you falling behind your competitors.
There are some clear benefits to having more of a focus on fundraising within any organization. These are:
- Workplace culture: fundraising means events, and these allow you and your employees to spend time together in celebration of a worthy cause. These events have additional benefits too, such as helping to break down communication silos or giving you fuel for your marketing strategies.
- Connectivity: those fundraising events are also a great way to build strong communication between your remote employees, your customers, and your board. When it comes to those connections, the stronger the better. That makes fundraising one of the best (and fastest) ways to build trust in new employees, even if they’re working remotely.
- A kinder workplace: when you use fundraising to raise money for a good cause, it’s seen as a generous and selfless act. These are excellent values to introduce into any workplace. Kindness is something that’s considered contagious, so having a kinder workplace is almost always a net positive.
That’s not all. A more cultivated culture of fundraising in your organization will also improve the wellbeing of your team, improve visibility at work for remote workers, establish your company values (great for your marketing team), and give your whole team a sense of satisfaction when fundraising goals are met.
Number of technology fundraising deals into Europe and the U.S. from Asia from 1st quarter 2018 to 2nd quarter 2020
So how exactly do you create and then cultivate a culture of fundraising?
6 Steps to Build your Fundraising Culture
Follow these steps and your organization can only grow stronger, your employees will be more engaged, and you’ll be doing a good thing for your community.
1. Start at the top
If you want buy-in from the whole organization then you’re going to need to start at the top. If you’re the CEO, then that’s great and you can pretty much start organizing fundraising immediately. If you’re not the CEO (yet), then you need to look at those above you.
Talk to your team leaders, managers, and everyone in a position higher than you. Discuss the advantages of fundraising and how an organization benefits from it. Everyone that you convince is then going to be on your side, and you can start going higher up the ladder.
It can be challenging, and most organization leaders have other business needs and processes that are a priority. However, you’ll certainly struggle to make any kind of cultural change in an organization if you don’t have buy-in from those at the top. Start there.
2. Staff communication
Once you have some supporters at the higher level of the organization, it’s time to start convincing everybody else. This is often the hardest part of creating a fundraising culture. That’s because when people hear the word fundraising, they immediately start thinking about cold, hard cash.
Most people struggle to talk about money and are extremely resistant to asking other people to give them some. The goal here is to start getting every employee and member of the team to start rethinking what they believe fundraising to be. The concept needs to be redefined so that they understand you’re not asking them to go door-to-door hassling strangers for donations or annoying their friends and family with constant requests for hard-earned money.
Instead, contact the team via your online phone service for business, emails, or other communication methods. Highlight some of the tasks that are part and parcel of fundraising but which are often forgotten about. There can be a lot of admin involved with fundraising, so if someone can donate some time to getting that admin done, that’s a net positive.
There’s a lot of work in fundraising, and only a small part of it is actually asking people for donations. Reframe the notion of fundraising so that team members can more easily see where they might be able to help.
3. The money challenge
It can be hard to talk about money. There’s almost an aura of crassness about it. There shouldn’t be, and your organization doesn’t have to follow that outdated and mystifying notion. It’s that taboo that makes many US citizens instantly turned off by the idea of fundraising.
To break that taboo, big changes within your organization may have to be made. It’s surprisingly easy to get people talking about money, once you know how to do it. Release financial statements and salary details so that the business finances of your organization are transparent.
This is a big step, and it’s probably where you’ll struggle the most when convincing CEOs and board members to cultivate a fundraising culture. The good news is that this kind of transparency comes with a wide range of additional positives that aren’t even related to fundraising. Not only will it build trust in the company, but it can also dramatically improve any brand’s reputation.
That’s good news for investors, customers, and employees alike. In turn, that leads to improved employee morale, more engagement, and improved productivity. Understanding the importance of a partner relationship management definition is one thing, but if you want to improve your organization in every way, transparency is the key.
4. Sharing stories
You’ve done the hard work of encouraging the start of some good fundraising activities that will engage your staff. Don’t let their successes go unnoticed. Share their stories with help from different ad exchange companies so that you can inspire and motivate others. From an internal perspective, it’s great for an organization’s morale to see colleagues succeeding in anything.
However, it can also be an extremely valuable marketing resource. If your marketing team is spending all of its time on SEO, content creation and partnering up with international domains the fundraising success of your employees is extremely valuable. Those stories can be used as social media posts that improve brand reputation and can boost company followers and advocates.
Storytelling is now one of the most widely used marketing strategies, and fundraising is the ideal way to let customers and shareholders see behind the scenes.
5. Encourage ideas
Once you’ve inspired more of a fundraising approach to your organization’s culture, it’s time to get as many people involved as possible. The best way to do this is by getting fundraising ideas from the members of your team.
Next time that you’re in a meeting on Microsoft teams or in any of your inbound call center software, make sure that the subject of fundraising is raised. Encourage every member of your team to come up with as many fundraising ideas as possible. If you still have members of the team that are wary because of that money taboo, clarify that this is just idea generation.
You might be surprised by the creativity that’s shown or the causes that your team wants to support. Use those ideas, and your team members will feel appreciated, visible, and more like they are a part of the organization and its goals.
6. Remember to thank everybody
Finally, don’t forget that once you have launched your first fundraising campaign, that everybody that donates is sent some form of thank you. Emails are fine, but for larger donations use phone calls using your VoiP call center software. That personal touch will always go a long way.
However, don’t just thank the people that make donations. It takes a team to run a good fundraising campaign, and every single person needs to be thanked for their contributions. The graphic designer who spent time making a cool logo or poster, the admin expert who managed the fundraising spreadsheet and everybody who helped raise money should all be thanked.
Get this right, and your next fundraising campaign will feel more natural, and you’ll have the necessary building blocks to start more robustly cultivating that fundraising culture within your organization.
Start building your fundraising culture today
It takes time and work to first create and then cultivate a culture of fundraising. It’s not the easiest strategy to implement, but the gains are more than worth it. It’s certainly not something that can happen in a single week.
In some cases, you may start the process only to find that your organization isn’t quite ready for it yet. That’s fine! As your organization grows, that fundraising culture may be easier to implement or more suitable for your business goals.
Take the time to get it right, and your organization’s fundraising culture could be the first step to more reliable growth.