Fundraising with joy is the path to success

If you think fundraising is a kind of arm-twisting begging that annoys people and ruins your reputation … you’re probably right.

The way you see what you do shapes what you do.

That’s why the most successful fundraisers see asking for money as a blessing that improves the lives of donors. They feel the privilege of giving donors the opportunity to make good things happen.

As Amy Eisenstein says at How to Experience the True Joy of Fundraising:

If you look at fundraising as something you have the privilege of doing, rather than a chore or task you’re obligated to do, it will feel completely different.

If you assume donors want to help and feel good when doing so, you can look at fundraising as providing people with an opportunity to feel good!

If you take the opposite point of view — that fundraising is a necessary evil or an embarrassment — your work will be less effective in one or more of these ways:

  • You’ll hint around, not quite asking, but hoping donors will figure out that a donation is what you need.
  • You’ll avoid asking as much as possible, afraid that anything you say is more likely to alienate donors than inspire them.
  • You’ll approach donors with a sense of entitlement. After all, your cause is righteous, and they have an obligation to support it.

And you’ll hate your job.

Which will just lead to more pain and ineffectiveness.

Fundraising is not for everyone.

But it does great things — not just bring in revenue to support important work, but it enriches and inspires donors.

Fundraisers who embrace that truth do amazing 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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