Recruit responsive fundraising stakeholders to grow giving from donors.

3 Critical Stakeholders in Responsive Fundraising

Megan Donahue

Being the first in your organization to believe in responsive fundraising is exciting. You see the value in treating every donor like a major donor and the power of personalization. You’re raring to get your CRM and marketing automation in place so that you can grow your giving by engaging donors in their own unique journeys.

Now you just have to get everyone else on board.

Becoming a responsive nonprofit is not a job for one person. You’ll need to engage three critical responsive fundraising stakeholder groups to ensure your success. 

4 Key Responsive Fundraising Stakeholders

Responsive Fundraising is an organization-wide, all-hands-on-deck endeavor, with several necessary stakeholders. The development department leads the charge, but won’t get far without leadership, marketing, technology and donor buy-in. 

1. Chief Development Officers

Since we’re talking about responsive fundraising, it’s no surprise that your development leadership is the first stakeholder group you need to engage. These are the people who can encourage and lead brave, creative fundraising endeavors. If you don’t have their support, it won’t work.

Some fundraising leaders will see the value of responsive fundraising immediately, while others may be more skeptical. Most development officers have seen fundraising trends come and go, face a lot of pressure from their bosses and boards, and may be hesitant to add “another thing” onto their department’s plate. 

So what do you do, if you’re not the Fundraising Boss, but you know responsive fundraising is a necessary approach for your organization to grow?

You may have to do a bit of education to explain that responsive fundraising isn’t just another trend. Show how it solves the problems of fundraising in the modern world, particularly the ones your organization is struggling with.

Appeal to CDOs and other fundraising leadership by asking them to read the Responsive Blueprint, or giving them an executive summary of it yourself. Be prepared to demonstrate how technology enables responsiveness, rather than staff time. Do a little research about your donors’ behavior — where is engagement dropping off, and how could responsive fundraising help? You may also want to provide a few examples that show the results that brands and for-profits are getting from personalization. 

2. Chief Marketing Officers

To make responsive fundraising successful at your organization, marketing and development must work together. Marketing supplies content and engagement data to help the fundraising team respond to donor signals effectively.

Where, previously, marketing might develop communications plans for donors without considering what fundraisers are doing, responsive fundraising requires collaboration. It’s important to coordinate so that your donors experience a single conversation across multiple departments and channels. At responsive nonprofits, development and marketing communications are all part of one, seamless donor journey. 

Bring marketing leadership into the conversation about responsive fundraising by first explaining what you’re trying to do. Show them what you’ve done in the past. Explain what’s not working and why you think responsive fundraising is a better approach. Create a comprehensive list of each team’s responsibilities and how this can make you a more efficient organization. 

Don’t steamroll them. Ask about their existing plans, and brainstorm about how to include them in a responsive way. Invite them to work on content ideas with you, and ask for their advice. 

You likely share access to your nonprofit CRM and marketing automation software with marketing, so coordinate your processes, and communicate clearly about anything that will need to change. 

3. Chief Technology Officers

Whether your CTO heads up an IT team or is a staff person who ended up as the default “tech support,” responsive fundraising includes powerful software, and you need that person on your side. You’ll need modern tools to be efficient, and support to keep everything running smoothly. 

Your tech folks may not be deeply familiar with fundraising, so be prepared to explain what you’ve been doing and what you’re trying to change. With a little fundraising education, your CTO will be able to understand why you need a responsive nonprofit CRM, rather than a static donor database. 

Build your tech support by explaining how you use your current technology tools, and how you plan to use future ones. This is particularly important if you’re asking for something new in your budget.

3 Tips For Engaging Stakeholders in Responsive Fundraising

Any change within an organization brings challenges. You can smooth the path by being deliberate in how you engage stakeholders. 

Plan For Communication

Before you roll out your new responsive fundraising approach, make a plan for how you’re going to communicate about it internally. Identify your key stakeholders and think about how you’ll engage them, what you’ll need from them, and what they may need from you. 

Pay special attention to how responsive fundraising strategies and tactics will change workflows, introduce new tasks, or eliminate activities. That way, instead of only talking about the theory of what you’re planning, you’ll be able to get down to the details people will want to know about. 

Invite Input

If you want buy-in, you need to solicit input. Your marketing department has its own goals that need to be considered, and your technology officer probably has some thoughts about software. To get the most out of your responsive fundraising strategies, and to engage your donors in the most meaningful ways, you’ll need help from everyone on your team. Get them excited early so that you can start to grow giving as soon as possible.

Keep Checking In

Just as responsive fundraising is a cycle that runs perennially, your cross-department collaboration should be an ongoing effort. Thus, you should make it a priority to continue to check in with all your stakeholders. Let them know how things are going, so you can celebrate successes and solve problems together. This will go a long way toward keeping them involved and engaged in the process. 

Start Responsive Fundraising

Ready to become a responsive nonprofit and grow your giving? Virtuous is here to help, with an easy-to-use responsive CRM, marketing automation and giving platform, all designed to put your donor’s journey at the center of everything you do. See it in action with a demo. 

Responsive Fundraising: The Blueprint for Engaging Modern Donors

Traditional fundraising strategies no longer work. This blueprint explains why today's donor expects more, and how nonprofits are shifting to responsive fundraising.

Get the Blueprint