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Creating Authentic Donor Relationships for Sustainable Fundraising

Have any of you dumped ice water on yourself lately? Facebook used to be flooded with ice bucket videos; now it’s just quiz results of “Which Harry Potter character are you most like?”

In less than a month, the ALS Association received over $100 million in donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge. $100 million. That is one heck of a fundraiser.

But where is it now?

There is some conflict about the origin of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but one thing’s for sure: the ALS Association had nothing to do with it. It was started by a volunteer—someone who was diagnosed with ALS. He started the challenge to raise awareness of the condition. And it blew up social media.

Everyone was wondering two things: What made the Ice Bucket Challenge so successful? And, how do we copy it? 

But how do you create something viral? The best companies in the world are still trying to figure that out, with slim success. You can’t replicate something that was inspired by a volunteer. Obviously, you can try. You can start an Ice Bucket Challenge for forest preservation right now, but it won’t raise $100 million.

So what can you do? You can create an atmosphere for volunteer creativity. You can train volunteers in authentic fundraising. But you can’t make your fundraising into a gimmick. Nonprofits need to focus on creating strong case statements, meeting with donors face-to-face, and taking the time to create authentic relationships with your donor base. You might get lucky and create the next Ice Bucket Challenge, but that’s not sustainable fundraising. Look where it is now. But by cultivating donors, that kind of fundraising will never wash out.

Has your ice bucket melted? Dickerson, Bakker & Associates will teach you how to fundraising in a sustainable way. Contact us today!

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