April 4, 2009

A Lesson from Fundraisers

I had lunch today with a friend who is a fundraiser. In this economy, what job could be more difficult than someone who relies on raising money from people who are hurting financially?

I think something that he said can be really instructive for all of us in the association community, even those of us who are not responsible for raising money from our members. He said that right now, while he and his fellow major gift officers are having some trouble raising funds, they are using this difficult economy for relationship-building.

They are meeting people. They are enhancing their already established relationships. And most importantly, they are galvanizing their support while times are down, which will put them in prime position to take advantage of the economy when it recovers.

I think that now more than ever, we should be following my fundraiser friend's lead and try to develop as many meaningful relationships with our members as possible. This will benefit the association in the long run, giving it an amazing core of evangelists that will be even more engaged in its success than before the economy turned sour.

Do you make time in your schedule to reach out and develop relationships with the members of your association? If not, why wait? Now is the perfect time to step up and devote some time to an important aspect that oftentimes gets taken for granted.


Matt Baehr said...

Bruce - Such a good point. Relationship building is the key now. The hard part becomes convincing your board or whoever else that they have to be patient too as you build these relationships.

Anonymous said...

So, this is where you are posting your thoughts on slowly taking over Delta Sigma Phi.

Bruce Hammond said...

@Matt - Thanks for your reply, and yes, convincing the board and others to be patient is likely a difficult task. I think most people will get it, but it may be difficult to convince some of those folks that building relationships, while slow and not flashy, is what makes members happy and engaged in how the association is doing. Even if numbers don't pick up right away, they will when your association has forged amazing relationships with your members.

Karen Gates said...

Getting back to the basics will build a larger foundation to expand upon! I remember when first getting involved, taking grant writing classes... my mentor always said "It's about the relationship!" Time and time again. Thanks for the reminder.