Askers = More Money - The University of Arizona Foundation

More Askers = More Money:
How Everyone Can Participate in
Building Philanthropic Partnerships
Presented by Andy Robinson
Sponsored by The University of Arizona Foundation GIFT Center
To raise money successfully,
you need four things:
● A strong case for giving
● Prospective donors to ask
● People to do the asking
● Systems and resources to track data, money,
donor recognition, etc.
Most nonprofits and institutions can be
stronger in all these areas, but the biggest
challenge is:
√ A strong case for giving
√ Prospective donors to ask
!!! Not enough askers
√ Systems and resources to track data, money,
donor recognition, etc.
Many organizations emphasize
encouraging board members to ask, but
board members are volunteers – and
how much influence do you have over a
Why can’t we deploy our faculty
and staff more effectively?
Case study: Toxics Action Center,
Mission: “Organizing with residents to clean
up and prevent pollution since 1987.”
● Annual budget +/- $500,000
● Revenue split between grants and
community-based fundraising
● Major gifts category = $250+
● 250-300 donor visits per year
All-staff model (really, ALL staff)
● Two-week major gifts campaigns twice per year
● A “house list” of donors who’ve given at least
$50 via canvas and/or mail
● Program work is severely restricted during the
two-week campaign
Week one: Training, role plays, phoning
(and phoning and phoning) for visits
Week two: Donor visits, with a goal of 1518 visits per staff member
What makes this model work?
1. Leadership buy-in and follow-through
2. A campaign structure
3. Devotion to the numbers
4. A commitment to storytelling
5. A “culture of practice”
6. Persistence powered by a dose of realism
7. A culture of mutual support
8. Transparency in recruitment
9. The courage to ask for much larger gifts
Rule: Donors will give 5-10 times
more money in person than they will
send through the mail.
10. Embracing the wisdom that fundraising
● Donor engagement (not just “asking”)
● Advocacy
● Education
● Market research
Challenges and barriers
Why wouldn’t this model work with your
organization or institution?
1. Staff and leadership resistance: “We don’t
do it that way”
2. Geography: National donor pool, hard to
meet in person
3. Logistics and coordination are always
more challenging in large institutions
4. Timing: Our work never stops
Adapting this strategy for your
Given the challenges and barriers we’ve
identified, how can you adapt this model to
work for your institution?
1. Reduce the time commitment
2. Spread out the time commitment
3. Recruit a smaller faculty/staff team
4. Share the numbers – keep everyone
informed about how fundraising works in
your organization
Collect & share stories; build a story bank:
“Statistics raise eyebrows but emotions raise money.”
● Testimonials
● Favorite anecdotes
● Photos
● Videos
● News clippings
● An organizational timeline on your wall/website
Develop a fundraising culture within
university departments and centers
● Create a faculty/staff fundraising menu so
people can choose how they want to participate
● Challenge gifts based on faculty/staff
engagement benchmarks
● Option? Use the money raised for professional
development or other benefits
This presentation is based on the article
“More Askers = More Money,” available from
the Grassroots Fundraising Journal,
Good luck and stay in touch!
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