Lots. Annual Funds have many purposes besides raising money. It is often easy to get caught up in meeting your target numbers, but if you look beyond the dollar sign, you can often increase your bottom line. Contradictory? Not at all. It is the difference between development and fundraising.
Having a well-built list of donors can be very advantageous. Want to have an event? Here is a list of people interested in your mission. Looking to expand your board? You already have a list to search through for candidates who fit your criteria and who already support your mission. Considering a capital campaign? Current supporters usually give the majority of the total funds raised.
Increased participation often causes improved connections with the organization. To give – even at a small level is to know that you are helping the organization fulfill its mission. We all know that $50 will not help increase a beloved employee’s salary – but if another 5% of your population gave $50, what could you accomplish?
Annual funds also serve as a good litmus test as to how the community thinks the organization is doing. The stronger the organization, the more people who agree with the mission/vision and the more aligned new programs are with the focus of the nonprofit – the more likely they will be financially supported by the public. Of course, the opposite is not always true – your lack of support may be as simple as how, when or in what context you ask.
New donors are incredibly exciting. They chose your association to give money to this year. When you stop to think about how many opportunities to give to organizations there are in a year and the small percentage that each individual chooses to give to, you know that a gift is a substantial vote of confidence. Learn as much as you can as each new donor enters your system. It is much easier and less time consuming than waiting for a large number to accrue.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. But perhaps it will help you reconsider your efforts for the coming year.