Who’s going to fund your mission?

Religious organizations are often founded with a tragic delusion at their core, as noted by the Fundraising Coach at Fundraising Myth: If we build it, God will fund it.

It’s odd, but they don’t expect God to miraculously do the work they’re founded to do, but somehow He will miraculously take care of the fundraising. Far be it from me to questions the Almighty’s priorities, but Are You sure you have Your priorities right?

The secular version of this is, If we build it, everyone will flock to fund it.

Sorry, but both versions of the delusion are false. As Fundraising Coach notes:

You need to research your cause and your prospects, engage them and get to know them, and you have to ask them for money. Even after that, you have to tend to the relationship by expressing your love and gratitude, showing donors you see them as whole people, not mere ATMs.

Fundraising is part of the gig. Get used to it.

In fact, if fundraising isn’t built into the DNA of your organization, you’re probably doomed to a slow (or maybe quick) death.

If you want to survive and do well, you need these things built into your attitudes and operations:


  • Belief that fundraising is a good thing, not a necessary evil.
  • Respect for donors, even if they are less educated or informed than you are.
  • An attitude of thankfulness and partnership toward donors.
  • A clear and tested sense of who is likely to support your cause. (Hint: It’s never “everybody.”)
  • An ability to share power with donors, to give them choices in the relationship, to be transparent.
  • A commitment to give donors direct, authentic, and real connections to the work they fund — not branding platitudes.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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