In this episode of the Strategic Nonprofit podcast, our host Trista sits down with the Director at YEDI Ric Phillips. Join Trista and Ric’s discussion on the importance of nonprofit organizations focusing on friend-raising rather than fundraising, including excellent advice on how to ask for a sponsorship. As well as building connections with donors and sponsors and how to get a mentor to join your organization. 

Your Fundraising Strategy

Funds are a serial focus for every nonprofit. If you don’t have funds, you can’t do anything, leading to a manic feeling of desperation for many boards because they’re so focused on acquiring immediate funds. The crucial way to try to negate this is to have a good fundraising strategy. Everyone has good marketing and sales strategy; why not fundraising?

How To Incorporate Friend-Raising

Friend-raising starts with leadership; It always begins at the top. It trickles down the levels of a nonprofit organization, which is why it’s crucial to instill the concept that let’s bring all of our networks together – not just the executive team.

Everyone on your team is valuable; however, volunteers often feel very secluded because they’re not full-time workers, which is why you need to focus on first connecting with your team as a whole. You never know what resources, skills or aptitudes you have elsewhere in your organization.

For instance, volunteers can connect more deeply with your mission by running your Facebook group or page. Which ultimately will bring like-minded individuals to the table.

Understand Your Donors | Friend-Raising

Everyone wants to feel like a good guy. So people will always undoubtedly help your mission; however, you’ve first got to understand who you’re talking to when approaching donors, sponsors and beneficiaries. 

Most people do just want to give back to society. Maybe they want to have their name on some a monument of some kind. Whatever it is they want from the process, you’ve got to find out and give that person what they want. This way you’ll have happier relationships.

You can’t offer the CEO of Nike soup.

“Hey, taste our soup. It’s delicious. You should support us.”

It doesn’t work that way.

Ric Phillips

Tailor Your Message | Friend-Raising

It would be best if you never asked for money directly; The money will come. It’s a better use of your precious time to look at what else you can leverage besides money in terms of resources.

Trust The Process | Friend-Raising

Trust that relationship building is a good thing; a positive mindset alone will create many opportunities and see the opportunities as they present themselves. As mentioned above, money is not your only resource; be prepared to find other possibilities, whether that’s an influential connection or much-needed furniture donated to your space.

Offer Mentoring Opportunities | Friend-Raising

Offering mentoring opportunities is another method of utilizing all of your resources at your disposal. In some cases, you could argue that an influential mentor can do more for your nonprofit organization’s development than money. Such as raising your profile, educating others and representing your cause.

More about YEDI and Ric Phillips

Ric Philipps is a Communication Coach, Trainer and President at 3V Communications, a Director, Program Advisor and Instructor at YEDI, and an Executive Director at NCCA Canada.

YEDI stands for York Entrepreneurship Development Institute and is a charity that trains entrepreneurs in Canada and abroad, both for-profit and non-profit.


About Tom (TJ) Abbott

Tom (TJ) Abbott, CSP is the Managing Director of AMC NPO Solutions and an authority on Governance. He has over 25 years experience as CEO, President and board director of several not-for-profit organizations. Tom has also spoken in over 20 countries.

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