8 ways a CEO can transform fundraising

Nonprofit CEOs have a lot of power — for good or for ill. Sometimes they use their power to transform the fundraising of their organization. When that happens the increase in revenue can be astounding. Big enough to transform everything the organization does.

How do they do it?

The Philanthropy & Fundraising International Blog takes a look at what transformational CEOs have done to successfully improve their fundraising, at What Great Fundraising CEOs are doing to raise their fundraising game

  1. They researched what other organisations have achieved. So many leaders confidently believe their organization is utterly different from all others. The leaders who transformed their fundraising knew the truth: What works, works. You are not nearly as different as you think.
  2. They took their time to learn and understand fundraising. Handing off fundraising to others because it’s not worth your time is a big mistake. The best leaders understand what’s going on in fundraising.
  3. They took ownership of kick-starting fundraising. Change needs everyone. But it especially needs leaders.
  4. They achieved organisational wide buy-in. This is the hard part. Many respected and excellent people will energetically oppose change, especially when that means effective fundraising. Getting buy-in means smart hires — and sometimes painful firings.
  5. They made the three key decisions. They actively chose donor-centered thinking, optimum investment levels, and powerful communications.
  6. They set their fundraisers free. They removed barriers to effective fundraising, reduced time-consuming bureaucracy, invested in training of fundaisers, encouraged testing and learning, and kept amateurs out of the way. inions.
  7. They kept involved. They paid attention to fundraising.
  8. They used the money to create innovative projects. They looked forward, were willing to take risks, and kept trying new things.

None of this is easy. It takes all the leadership ability you have.

But the change can be astounding, a legacy that will last generations.


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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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