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Critically important to you as the leader of your ministry is recognizing your full potential for growth and development, rests on your cultivating a truly passionate committed donor base. I’m not talking simply about those from whom you receive another year’s contribution but an extensive, solid team of advocates. People who take ownership in your program and in whom you have instilled an understanding and appreciation for the mission you are on and the goals you hope to attain. You are far more effective and become a far more efficient organization if you recognize the importance of building long term relationships with and imparting a true sense of partnership in those you seek support from.
From an effectiveness standpoint this approach can greatly reduce your acquisition cost, the cost of securing the financial resources needed to execute your mission. You’re not having to go out each year and recruit a whole new crop of donors. Instead you are continually nurturing a deeper commitment and appreciation, among those who have already supported your work, regarding who and what you are as an organization, your goals and objectives and the value of what you have accomplished and will accomplish going forward with their help.
You must have a clearly defined mission and a very clear set of goals that directly relate to that mission. You need to lay out a case for support which spells out the magnitude of the challenge you seek to address and what your plan is to meet that challenge. What are the issues you face and what do you propose to do about it? Show them how your ministry has and will continue to provide solutions for the very problems you seek to solve.
To cultivate this type of passionate donor base, many methods can be used but common among them is the goal of drawing the donor into a deeper connection with both the importance of the issues you are addressing and the significance of his involvement in bring solutions to those issues. The more the donor can have a sense of ownership and that his gift matters, that he is truly a partner in the mission of your organization, the more secure will be his attachment to your work.
First of course you have to get people to start giving. You should start with your most natural constituency. Those who you sense already share an interest in your mission and goals and who share your beliefs and philosophy. Then you can broaden out from there to a more global audience. This is your first level of outreach and will be an ongoing continual effort for years. However, the more important work is the ongoing cultivation of those donors to turn them into true partners. Development means bringing the donors along, raising their sights in terms of how they can support you, giving them ownership in the outcome of your organization.

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