Fundraising professionals, fundraising amateurs: here’s the difference

When strangers ask me questions about fundraising, I’ve noticed there are two distinct categories of question:

  1. Vague, broad questions mostly about how to get people to treat them they way they want to be treated.
  2. Focused, specific questions about how to tackle fundraising challenges.

The first group of questions are what the amateurs ask. The second is what the professionals ask. And the odd thing is, some of the amateurs have been in the business for years, even decades. And some of the professionals started last week.

The difference is a mindset. It’s captured by Goins, Writer at 7 Things Professional Writers Know That Amateurs Don’t:

  1. Amateurs wait for clarity. Pros take action.
  2. Amateurs want to arrive. Pros want to get better.
  3. Amateurs practice as much as they have to. Pros never stop.
  4. Amateurs leap for their dreams. Pros build a bridge.
  5. Amateurs fear failure. Pros crave it.
  6. Amateurs build a skill. Pros build a portfolio.
  7. Amateurs want to be noticed. Pros want to be remembered.

Any fundraiser who wants to can be a professional. They just need to act professional. That’s how you build knowledge and a great portfolio, not just of success, but of experience. Or you can choose to stay amateur your whole career.


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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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