Friendraising, How to Identify Your Next Donors

What is friendraising?

Friendraising, it’s about crafting a donor-centered journey that predisposes them to want to give to you and keep giving as opposed to a one time or a token gift. Friendraising allows you to start the donor relationship with a real human connection.

Why friendraise?

Well, I would rather have friends, to our organization, than donors. If you have a bunch of passionate friends for your organization, what can they do for your cause? They’ll stick with you. They’ll be loyal no matter what. They’ll bring other friends. They’ll spread the word. And when the going gets tough, where will your friends be? There’ll be right there with you doing whatever it takes to keep you afloat. Will your friends give you money? Of course, they’ll give you money if they can. So, why don’t we focus on creating passionate friends for our organizations, rather than just donors?

Who are the people you need to make friends with?

You’re going to start with your current board and donors, you’re going to do a mapping exercise called the sphere of influence. As you and the board identify the people in your circle, you’ll put a plan in place to build a special relationship between them and the nonprofit.

How long does that relationship process take?

As you know, great friendships don’t happen overnight, it will take time and dedication to forge a productive and sustainable friendship.

It is like dating, you start to court people. Now that you know who the prospects are because you’ve done that sphere of influence exercise you want to get to know these people. You must go through the courting process; you just can’t identify people skip courting them and go straight to the ask. That is not building a relationship. You must do cultivation, and you must court them. And you must do all those things before you make the ask because you’re trying to build a relationship where you can get reoccurring gifts, and not just one time or token gifts. Don’t leave money on the table because you skip this cultivation process.

You must intentionally slow down and cultivate. You must court them just like dating. You don’t go on your first date and ask someone to marry you. That is crazy, right?

The number one goal of cultivation is to build relationships. Cultivation is everything that happens between the time you identify a prospect and the time you make your first ask. You want to make at least five touches to these potential donors before you make the ask.

How do you know when to make the ask?

That’s going to be based on your gut and your intuition. There really is no magic formula. You will know when a good and solid relationship exists and when it is time for the ask. Be aware of the token gift. Do not ask right at the beginning stage. They may give you something, just to make you go away because there’s no relationship. If the ask is well into the relationship, you will leave less money on the table and there is an increased chance for a repeat gift. They’re not going to not give because a relationship has been established. But like dating, don’t wait forever to ask. No one wants to be courted forever, eventually they want you to pop the big question!

So, making and nurturing friends pay off. Friends are more loyal than donors, they perceive that there’s a mutually beneficial relationship, one that really matters to them. They’ll recommend you to their friends, now that is the golden pot. They’re your friends, and then they start to recommend you to their friends. When they recommend you to their friends, instead of you going in and trying to just establish this relationship trust is already there because my trusted friend is introducing this organization to me. There’s already a level of trust and credibility there before you even hit the scene.

Following the friendraising process is critical. It can be accomplished in-person or virtual. Need a cultivation tool that helps make new friends in your community and reestablish connections with old ones: Check out the House Party Friendraising Kit.

I hope this helps. Comments are welcomed. Sharing is Caring.

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