Two Fundamental Needs: Fundraising and Food


Eating lunch this week, it suddenly hit me. Fundraising and cooking are basically the same concept. Maybe you don’t believe me yet, but let me explain.


Overall, why are cooking and fundraising alike anyways? Both cooking and fundraising are fundamentally about understanding a process. Exact measurements are not needed. Meaning, in fundraising, there’s definitely not a one sized fits all approach. In fact, once you understand the skills, qualities and processes with fundraising you can apply them to get a consistent offering.


So, let’s talk about building our fundraising dinner party:


First we have to prep the ingredients:

-Our budget

-Our organization

-Our goals


Our budget calls for us understanding the fundamental needs of our organization. We look for opportunities to maximize our potential each new year.


Our organization calls for us to understand our audience and their inherent needs and desires. This focus allows our small donors to continually send feedback to the organization, allowing us to optimize each donor’s potential.


Our goals are the foundation of the relationships we foster outside for our organization. Ultimately, our goals are the building blocks for success. Our message resonates with donors. Your best organization ambassadors will promote your fundraising efforts.


Next step, who are we inviting to the dinner party?


Our invites to our fundraising party allow us to rapidly add as many new donors as possible, before transitioning them into a regular cycle of giving. We have to think about what our guests want. Have they made it clear to us through other conversations? Are our guests open to a dialogue? With a little preparation, we know what messaging we are able to start with to have a successful fundraising program.


Following your fundraising recipe (somewhat):


First, the longer we practice the basics and methods the faster they are going to become second nature. After crafting your recipe, you have to taste test with your friends to make sure you are getting it just right. Take the feedback, and adjust as necessary. As you invigorate the recipe with fresh conversations, you understand the donor relationships, and the value of these individuals. Lastly, sprinkle in facts and figures; let your dinner guests know exactly what is going on within your organization. Transparency is key.


Seek to understand your rating.


Did you truly listen to your donor feedback? We have to continually adjust the ingredients within our fundraising program as we learn the successes and failures. With success, you’ll be able to keep your donors coming back, and truly communicate to who is making a difference in the bottom line for your organization.


Lastly, what are the qualities of a good fundraising chef?

  • A good chef is knowledgeable. They seek to understand who their targeted audience is, their needs and desires, and figure out what issues and causes they truly support.
  • A good chef is diligent: they continually seek feedback to adjust their recipe and ingredients as needed
  • A good chef is always flexible. Sometimes adjustments need to be made in the delivery format, the process or the time table. Are you willing to adjust to maximize your net dollars?

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