What fundraising is really about (it’s not money)

You’ve probably heard (or said) something like this: My work in nonprofit would be so great if I didn’t have to do fundraising!

I can understand thinking this way. After all, you’re in it because of the cause. Fundraising is just something you need to do to make the real work possible.

But there’s another way to think that might not only make fundraising bearable — but even make you love fundraising as much as you love the cause.

Because fundraising changes the world!

Some of the ways it does that are described in a recent New York Times column by Arthur C. Brooks: Why Fund-Raising Is Fun.

When you look at the positive impact giving has on givers, fundraising can quickly feel less like a pain and more like an activity worth pursuing. Here’s just one thing we bring about as fundraisers:

… the real magic of fund-raising [is that it] creates meaning. Donors possess two disconnected commodities: material wealth and sincere convictions. Alone, these commodities are difficult to combine. But fund-raisers facilitate an alchemy of virtue: They empower those with financial resources to convert the dross of their money into the gold of a better society.

Fun? Why not?

You’ll have a lot more fun when you see fundraising for what it really is:


  1. Fundraising is not an act of taking something away from donors, leaving them just a little poorer. It’s an act of adding to them — they end up far richer, despite the decrease in their bank balance.
  2. When you realize fundraising is about donors, you suddenly get a lot more effective at it. And everything is more fun when you’re succeeding at it.


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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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