5 secrets to fundraising happiness

  1. Respect your craft. If you’re embarrassed to ask for money … if you think direct mail is tacky… if you think fundraising is a necessary evil that besmirches your reputation and annoys donors … well, you aren’t going to be happy. Get right with fundraising. Love it. That’s the only way to do great work, and it’s the only path to personal fulfillment in the job.
  2. Concentrate on lifting revenue, not lowering cost. There are two things you can do to increase your net revenue: Increase revenue or lower costs. Lowering costs is easier. But the rewards of that approach are limited; you can only lower costs so far, and many of the things you might do to lower cost will also lower revenue. The better way to improve your bottom line is to seek opportunity — be willing to take risks. Think like an entrepreneur. It’s more fun than shaving pennies off of your direct mail packages. And it works better.
  3. Embrace your right brain. Facts and logic don’t close the sale in fundraising. That fact bothers many people in the profession. They spend their entire careers fighting basic human brain structure and try to persuade donors’ left brains into giving. That’s just slamming your head against the wall. It hurts. If you can cultivate a love for the emotional, you’ll raise more money and have a lot more joy in your life.
  4. Say thank you. Your mom isn’t the only one who thinks this is a good idea. Donors who are told their gifts are appreciated and their gifts make a difference are stronger donors. Put some energy into thanking donors and reporting back to them the impact of their giving. You’ll feel better about asking when you know you’re going to close the circle by thanking donors.
  5. Eliminate group-think. Imagine a life where you don’t have ponderous, long meetings. Where great ideas take wing. Where you operate in your strength. That’s what you can have if you have decisions and thinking done by individuals instead of committees.


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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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