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How to Partner with Programs to Raise More Revenue

Everyone wants to raise more money. One of the best sources to help you achieve that could be sitting in a cubicle across from you right now. Who, you ask? Did we hire someone new in development? The fact is they don’t work in development. They work in programs.

I’m going to tell you 5 ways programs can help you. But first, I have to tell you that you may have to repair a bridge with them before they can help you. They may be feeling like they are at your beck and call. They may think you don’t understand or appreciate what they do. You may need to start showing them real acknowledgement and appreciation to build your relationship with them.

Start by:

  • Expressing curiosity in their work and shadow them in the field
  • Stewarding them like you would a donor
  • Taking them to lunch or better yet, happy hour to get to know them and ask how you can better serve them

Programs hold the key to allow donors to come in and see, feel, hear and touch the mission up close and personal. Building a donor showcase into program events lets your mission come alive before their very eyes. You need a solid relationship with programs to pull this off. If your program and development teams are headed for divorce court it’s time to create a culture pf philanthropy. I recommend this whitepaper by my colleague Gary Cole: Rethinking a Culture of Philanthropy to get your power couple back on track. (Hyperlink:

Here are 3 questions to help you start partnering with programs to raise more money:

1) What are programs already doing with clients that would be meaningful for your donors to see?

2) What high value “VIP” volunteer opportunities can you create to allow donors to feel a part of your mission in a fun, engaging way?

3) How can you staff and plan it to ensure these donors get a high touch white glove experience from start to finish?

If you think donor cultivation events aren’t important to donors consider Penelope Burke’s latest research: 86% of donors who had attended at least one donor recognition event within the past 2 years cited their most recent experience as “extremely satisfying” and 87% of attendees equated donor recognition events as positively influencing their future giving decisions.

I learned how to create a culture of philanthropy the hard way – through trial and error in my 12 years at the helm of Girlstart. If you want to learn how to create a culture of philanthropy at your organization please me for a free webinar on Wednesday June 25th at 12pm CDT. You’ll hear lots of tips from the trenches and walk away with key insights to start your transformation. (hyperlink:


Rachel Muir headshotRachel Muir, CFRE is Vice President of Training at Pursuant where she transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers. When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show.

Topics: Fundraising