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3 keys to effective fundraising

I call these my “Big Three” when it comes to fundraising:

  • Relationships
  • Mission
  • Long-term objectives

In my years of fundraising, I learned some simple truths. Good fundraisers realize that fundraising is all about relationships, not transactions. It’s about the long-term, not the immediate crisis of the week, month, or year. And mostly, it’s about the mission, not about me. When you ask someone to contribute to your organization, you’re not asking to line your pockets, you’re asking to fulfill the mission and all those who are helped by what you do!

Relationships – Often times, the same old fundraising methods work to get what I would call transactions. These transactions are typically small, uninspiring, and temporary. But if you seek relationship with others, you’ll find that you often get much more! These relationships may lead to gifts, and I’ve found that gifts

that come from genuine relationship are often larger, repeated, and more fulfilling for both the donor and organization. Seek the heart; don’t swarm the pocketbook.

Organizational mission – “I can’t ask someone for money.” I hear that all the time. My answer? Good! This isn’t about you. It’s about the mission you represent. Understanding that concept can go a long way to being a successful fundraiser!Long-term objectives – You can raise money with a crisis…once. Successful fundraising over the long-term is not crisis-driven fundraising. If your organization is facing a crisis, the leadership team needs to resolve the crisis. Don’t count on donors to fix problems they didn’t create. Instead, ask donors to be part of the long-term health of your mission. They’d rather fund solutions they can get excited about than fix problems they had no part in creating.

If you hold to these “Big Three,” you’ll find yourself becoming a more comfortable, confident, and successful fundraiser.


America’s ASKing Coach

PS: If you want a more detailed look at my approach to fundraising, check out my book, Asking About Asking: Mastering the Art of Conversational Fundraising. 

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