• Login /
  • Sign up now
Nov 21, 2023

Make All the Relationships Matter

Modern Nonprofit Fundraising Series

This is part two in our multi-part series on Modern Nonprofit Fundraising: Understand the Three Key Pillars for Success. Read part one, our introductory overview.

In fundraising, it’s not just who you know - it’s who the people you know, know. Relationships are one of the three pillars of modern nonprofit fundraising, and they’re both critical to success and notoriously difficult to find, manage and leverage.

Having a relationship with a potential donor is the biggest game changer possible

Having a relationship with a potential donor is the biggest game changer possible: the hours spent drafting a fundraising proposal are far less likely to be wasted with a “warm” contact than they would with a cold one. Also, knowing something about the relationship makes it a simple matter to tailor the pitch to the audience.

Of course, if it were that easy to actually *find* those warm contacts, we’d all be raising more money than we need. 

And in fact it’s not easy. In most cases, a nonprofit begins fundraising with the known network: friends, relatives, board members and hopefully some recommendations of others. But what comes after that? There are only so many times it’s possible (or wise) to pester the board of directors for referrals. Your neighbors have their own jobs and to do lists, and your relatives probably don’t want to connect you with anyone else because all that asking for money can get kind of embarrassing.

LinkedIn is an option, though it’s a one-by-one experience and it can be difficult and time consuming to drill down into “People Also Viewed” and “People You May Know.” Not to mention that in LinkedIn, “connections” is a fairly loose term and often doesn't represent real-life relationships that can be activated for fundraising purposes. Consultants might be helpful, but they’re pricey. In the end, many fundraisers find themselves relying on a trusted few in their network, but that’s a very heavy burden for those few (and potentially a big risk for the nonprofit if those few change roles or leave the area).

In the end, many fundraisers find themselves relying on a trusted few in their network, but that’s a very heavy burden for those few

What nonprofits need is a way to easily see inside their networks’ networks, making it straightforward to assess which people might represent a warm way into a potentially untapped (or under-tapped) donor or foundation. The goal is to find people who can bridge the gap between you and your ideal donors…and now you can. Impala’s newest fundraising product, Paths, is designed to help nonprofits activate relationships by turning data into actionable intelligence. In just a few clicks the relationships between the relationships will be obvious.

No one has time to waste digging up connections, leaning on friends or gambling on cold call pitches. Paths can shine the spotlight on the relationships and bring focus to the fundraising game. 

Start here (for free), join a free small group training session here, find a video tutorial here or ask us for help  (because we are former fundraisers and funders so we’ve BTDT).

If you found this article useful and haven’t signed up to receive our articles, you can here.