Donor Relations: How to Incorporate an Entrepreneurial Mindset

In a recent post for the blog Donor Relations Guru, Sarah E. Sims, executive director of donor relations at the University of Florida and a member of the Donor Relations Guru Group, discussed the growing need for entrepreneurial thinking in the industry.

In her post, Improving Donor Relations Through Innovation: Think Like an Entrepreneur, Sims writes: “As our donors’ needs become more nuanced and specific, the campaigns reach into the billions, and record numbers of supporters expect to be stewarded in meaningful manners, we must begin to respond to these needs with a business-savvy mindset.”

She went on to identify “four key characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset” that can set up donor relations professionals for more innovative and dynamic output.

  1. Diligence and perseverance: Dedication to trying, testing, failing and starting over again; replacing fear with confidence and flexibility; thriving in the uncertainty and demonstrating willingness to take risks
  2. Resourcefulness: Proactively looking for ways to answer your organization’s needs; don’t sit back and expect it to come to you; work the problem from a variety of angles and depend more on your own ingenuity than the ideas of others
  3. Vision: Don’t just let the road take you where it will, envision the end goal and figure out how to get there; all great innovation comes from a solid vision
  4. Passion: Donor relations is inherently personal — we are working to connect with our donors in ways that inspire trust and loyalty in big and small ways — this work should fuel our passion and the genuine pleasure we take in doing our jobs!

As a tech start-up, it should come as no surprise that Capture Higher Ed endorses this point of view wholeheartedly. We are a company that runs on diligence, resourcefulness, vision and passion, and we create tools for those in higher education willing to embrace an innovative way of thinking.

An important part of that culture is being able to see the trends … and then get in front of them with the right tools. That means understanding that more and more your donors are choosing to make their gifts online. According to the Blackbaud Institute’s 2016 Charitable Giving Report, higher education saw a 12.6 percent increase in online giving last year. In fact, online giving reached a record high in 2016, according the CASE Report: Online Giving Reached Record High in 2016.

This is how business is conducted in the modern world … and this is the way more people are choosing to give their charitable dollars.

Find out how Capture’s marketing automation software for advancement can help you leverage this newly preferred way your alumni and friends are engaging your institution. Watch this short video on Capture Behavioral Engagement.

By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed