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Patrick Dwyer formerly of Merrill Lynch and Boston Private offers some recommendations for successful fundraising in the non-profit world.

There are so many non-profits that set out to do impactful and meaningful work. Many are created to accomplish a real need; some have wonderful organizational capabilities and missions. The key to the success of these organizations, however, really boils down to fundraising. Without excellent fundraising tactics, many non-profits will fail despite the goodwill and need they fill simply due to lack of funds. While a large chunk of fundraising success is often based on connections that representatives within the organization have to potential donors, knowing how to fundraise is vital. The five “best practices” discussed below are sure to be beneficial to non-profits of all kinds.

Identify Potential Donors

As a start, people trying to raise funds for their agenda need to first identify their potential donors. This may be done in a myriad of ways. Some recommended ways to start choosing the most viable contacts are based on geographical location or shared interests. For example, if your non-profit is education-based, it would be fitting to seek out educators.

Cultivate Relationships

Once potential donors have been chosen, you should invest in developing a relationship with them. You may do this by planning an event they may find interesting, getting involved with a mutual community or cause, or finding any other way to ensure a face-to-face interaction. The main purpose is to form a connection and create opportunities for conversation.

Explain Your Mission

Once you have set up the chance to meet, be sure to fully explain what your non-profit does. Do not be bashful; potential donors appreciate details and a clear understanding of where their funds will be going. Be sure you clearly depict the importance of your cause and the vision you have in meeting the needs.

Communicate Well

Everyone is aware that any important endeavor is faced with challenges and pitfalls. The key is to openly communicate to your donors that you acknowledge these trials, and talk about how you plan to overcome them. This honesty and clear communication creates a sense of trust.

Thank Your Donors

Be courteous. In all the haste of the fundraising process, it can be easy to forget one of the most important points. Make sure to take the time to send a sincere ‘thank you’ to your donors. Afterall, their support is what enables your non-profit to succeed. Let them know you recognize and appreciate their role in making your mission a reality.