3 Steps for Fundraising Sabotage

by | Aug 29, 2014

When You’re Comfortable, You’re Not Growing

Some healthcare fundraising teams shoot for the stars – and occasionally, they actually reach them. These high-performers (those with the top 25% of production returns) have a few traits in common that all fundraisers could learn from.

But if you’re looking to stay in that mediocre bottom 75%, if you want to avoid hard work, big goals, and huge money, then look no further, my friend. You have come to the right place. Here’s what to do.

Keep It Small

More than 8 in 10 of top fundraising institutions employed 7 or more direct fundraising staff in FY 2012. In general, the larger the staff, the more money each individual on the team brings in. Not fair, right? The new guy gets hired and suddenly you have more donations to rake in?

To prevent that kind of success, start thinking small. Get cozy with your two favorite coworkers and start plotting how to get the fourth fired. Throw your support behind that hiring freeze. Encourage the new mom in the office to quit her job and spend time with the family. You’ll be glad you did.

Tighten Your Fist

It takes money to make money, and fundraising is no exception. More than 80% of top fundraising institutions spent more than $2 million in total fundraising expenses in FY 2012—on average, about five times more than what other hospital fundraising teams dish out.  If your office is that spendy, it’s likely you are exhausted from all that hobnobbing with big donors, and you’re ready for a break.

Start by baking cookies for the bigwig in charge of the fundraising budget; butter her up early to see big cuts next year. Don’t let your boss forget how much more you’re spending than that other hospital’s fundraising team across town, and then be sure to waste a good portion of your budget on a lavish Mad-Men-style office party (for your tiny fundraising staff, right?).

Send More Email

Nearly one-third of high-performing teams’ success comes from major gifts. That’s a lot, especially compared to other hospitals that only earn about one-fifth of funds via major gifts. Those big-dollar prospects like to know you as a person, to see you, to talk to you. This can mean a lot of hard work on your part, so if you’re ready to slacken the pace, this is one area where you can let go.

Forget your lunch date with last year’s multi-million-dollar donor. Focus instead on sending email, lots and lots of email, especially to people you’ve never met or talked to before. Sit in your office all day, all week, all month, until those prospects forget what you look like or the sound of your voice. Eventually, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the silence.

Just three simple steps. But oh so much peace and quiet.

Consider how your high-performing colleagues must be suffering, think about their headaches and struggles, as they work to bring in nearly six times the donations that you do.


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