6 questions that can make your fundraising program into a money machine

Many nonprofit board members seem to think the professional staff know nothing about fundraising. They’re actually projecting their own ignorance of the subject onto you. It’s something people do. They mean well.

But what this often means is you get unsolicited advice from board members, and they tend to suggestion amazing new things you ought to be doing that they think will make a lot of revenue without much expense. Like “We should accept cryptocurrency! Millennials prefer it over real money!” Or “Let’s rebrand! My nephew owns a branding agency, and he’s willing to do it at cost!”

These shiny objects are dangerous. Most of them don’t pan out. Many can put your program in a steep decline.

None of them are as cheap or easy as they promise.

Success in fundraising, like success in almost every endeavor in life, comes from focusing on the basics.

Here’s a series of very good questions from the Good Works Blog asking six questions you should ask yourself about your fundraising program: Why you shouldn’t just focus on the shiny new fundraising trends. Check them out:

  • Do you have an actual strategy? Is it written down?
  • Have you identified the audience(s) that are most likely to support your cause? Have you figured out how best to reach them?
  • Do you have a powerful and persuasive case for support that brings your mission to life?
  • Do you have a specific tactical plan for the fiscal year that includes schedules, projected costs and estimated revenues?
  • Do you take the time to tell powerful and persuasive stories to emotionally and intellectually engage your audience?
  • Do you spend as much time and money thanking donors and showing gift impact as you do soliciting?

Boring? Maybe.

Hard work? For sure.

Likely to create success. Pretty much, if you do them well.

Innovation is vital. But it almost always comes in the context of being on top of the basics. It’s never easy, it’s seldom obvious, and most new ideas don’t really work. Even the good ones take some learning and adjustment before they take off.

But if you master the boring basics, you’ll not only raise more money, but you’ll be better positioned discover exciting new things that actually work.


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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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