The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Fundraising + Marketing = Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts

Imagine: You’ve worked long and hard to grow a strong relationship with your communications colleagues (or, if you’re on the communications side, with your fundraising colleagues). You all know that working as a team to solicit, gather, and share insights on supporters is the path to strong and lasting relationships that motivate greater giving, plus desired actions on other fronts.

Note: If you haven’t launched this partnership yet, do it right now!

You’ve put in the time and sweat to build this vital partnership within your organization, and you’ve probably seen some payoff already. But all too often, once we get some satisfaction, partners begin to take each other for granted. This happens in the vital fundraising–marketing partnership as well as in love.

Here are four ways to keep the fundraising–marketing partnership alive and productive:

1. Work hard to understand the other person’s point of view.

Strong relationships come from understanding the other person’s point of view, even if you don’t share it. Put the same effort into understanding your marketing partners as you do with your prospects. Avoid futile arguments, and remember that the objective is not winning but what’s best for your partnership (and your revenue).

2. Know that it will take work.

Despite what you may have heard in John Lennon’s famous song, love isn’t all you need. Successful relationships require hard work.

Fundraising and marketing are nerve-racking professions—you’re the folks your organization counts on to keep it going. Plus, we all have quirks and habits that can grate on our colleagues. Stressful times are when many relationships flounder. Jump on the bumps as they appear to keep them small.

3. Encourage each other to grow.

Mutual respect is the foundation of every successful partnership. That means appreciating and accepting your marketing or fundraising partners for the wonderful, unique human beings they are. And vice versa.

Your marketing partner may want to grow in ways you don’t like or team up with you on strategies or experiments you’re uncomfortable with. Preventing their growth will stifle both them and you—because your communications partner will treat you the same way. Tit for tat.

Instead of tamping each other down, it’s far better to encourage your marketing or fundraising partner to continue building her skill set and confidence, and vice versa. It’s the only way a good partnership will flourish.

4. Keep the spark alive.

Whatever you do, don’t let this partnership flicker and die. Not after you put so much into it!

I frequently see this chain of events after a successful partnership ramp-up: Contentment sets in, you start taking the communications folks for granted (and vice versa), and you gradually fall back to your old ways. You rarely reach out, and collaboration slows to a halt.

Keep it alive by making the effort to share new adventures. Refresh this crucial partnership: Take brainstorming meetings off-site for a change. Bring a program colleague into the discussion. Collaborate on a working session where, together, you’ll build your colleagues’ understanding of current and prospective donors, train them in dialoguing to strengthen relationships, and ask them to share the insights they gain.

Follow these four steps for a fundraising–marketing partnership that equals true and long-lasting success in engaging your supporters for the long run and makes your workdays more satisfying than ever.

Want more tips? Download the free guide: 7 Steps to Your Best Nonprofit Marketing Plan Ever.

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at

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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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