Roy C. Jones

Passion for your mission drives success

Rainmaker Fundraising Podcast
Rainmaker Fundraising Podcast
Passion for your mission drives success

Kevin Feldman is Director of Development at The Salvation Army, Lake County, Indiana. He also advises small and emerging nonprofits on all things fundraising-related. 

Kevin also runs a one-person development shop and has spent years fine-tuning his approach to donor engagement and fundraising. 

We sat down recently to discuss the state of fundraising amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and how that’s changing the nonprofit landscape. Kevin had some great insights about the work and how we ought to be thinking about it. Here are some of the key insights we discussed:

  1. The number one factor in driving success for fundraising in an organization is the leader’s passion for the cause. Being “fearlessly sold out” for the mission is critical. This trait drives everything else, keeps you motivated in challenging times, and helps to define the culture for everyone else in the organization.
  2. Managing internal expectations around fundraising, donor relationships, revenue and expenses is equally as critical as managing your external donor expectations. In fact, bringing the board and other leaders into your fundraising plan — essentially making it their plan — will help bring shared ownership and greater success than trying to go it alone. 
  3. For the one-person shop, determining where to spend your time and energy is the most important decision-making challenge. Think about that decision from the perspective of, “will this activity help me retain more donors, grow the organization’s relationship with more donors, increase giving, or add more new supporters to our cause?” If yes, then do it. If no, pass on it. 
  4. As COVID-19 and other social issues continue to impact our country, one key observation (and a warning) is that nonprofits (especially small orgs) need to understand how giving is changing in the foundations and corporations that support them, and what organizations need to do to offset potential changes in their funding mixes. 
  5. The impact of social media on donor engagement and fundraising, and why LinkedIn might just be the best social platform for donor engagement, board recruitment, and developing potential major donor relationships. 
  6. Why it’s important for fundraisers to understand the program side of their organizations and how the last few years have significantly changed the needs in your local community — and why that matters for fundraising. 

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