Adapted from blogpost “Courage to Lead” released on 05.13.2019, Shannon Schweigert.

 Relationship Risk

The fear of interrupting a relationship or offending a prospect through a request for financial support is very real. We all have peer circles that we value. These may include friends, relatives, or business associates for whom a financial support request may cause relationship discomfort.

The ability to overcome fear of relationship risk is what distinguishes professional fundraisers. Overcoming relationship risk is difficult, but not impossible. It begins with remembering that we professional fundraisers who represent important community causes. We do what we do for the benefit of others and the greater good of our communities.


Fundraising Success in a World Fraught with Relationship Risk

So, how do we lead successful fundraising campaigns in the “real world” where relationship risk exists?

  1. Be impeccably organized. Know your mission, your strategy, and the results of a successful effort. Share broadly.


  1. Develop key messages and repeat them often. Be consistent in your communications to reinforce the purpose behind your financial request.


  1. Adapt your presentation to the audience. Your donor prospects are an “audience.” Talk about what concerns them. Be personal in your approach. Maximize the time they give you, being specific in response to their priorities.


Innovation – Expanding Opportunities to Give

Finally, show your supporters that your organization is forward-thinking, not afraid to expand opportunities to give. The more opportunities donors are given to support your cause, the more they will. Expanding how a donor can support reduces relationship risk. Engage and connect with donors where their interests lie.

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