How to plug along like a fundraising machine

The secret to success isn’t dramatic, and it isn’t new. As the Passionate Giving blog puts it, the secret so success is to Trust the Process.

That’s right: Just keep plugging along, doing the stuff that works.

I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that. They’d prefer something magic and new that will free them from the process. Those people don’t last long. They screw up and move from job to job, talking a good talk, but failing again and again because they don’t trust the process.

Here’s Passionate Giving’s process. It’s for major donor fundraising, but it applies well to all types of fundraising:


  1. Cultivate the right donors
  2. Have a revenue goal for every donor
  3. Have a strategic plan for every donor
  4. Half of your time should be spent face to face with donors
  5. Match program with the hopes, desires and dreams of your donors
  6. Report back
  7. Be accountable

Number 3 is the only one that doesn’t have a direct parallel in general donor fundraising — but there is something similar you should do: Read donor comments. Take donor phone calls. Meet them face-to-face whenever possible.

Just keep doing this stuff. And doing it. And doing it. That’s where the big money comes from.


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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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