7 ways to boost your fundraising career and your joy

Here are some great steps from Pamela Barden for improving your career path this year, at 2023: The Year to Start Loving Fundraising Again:

  1. Commit to Staying Relevant. No matter what you do, the world moves on. So make it a point to keep new knowledge going in. This actually takes time and effort, but it’s a must!
  2. Figure Out Who Is Your Target Audience. Spend some time getting to know how your audience is different from you. They are different, but it can be easy to lose sight of that and communicate with them in ways that don’t connect. It’s an act of discipline to know about them, and stay aware of them.
  3. Don’t Discard the Old. Old tactics are as likely effective as not. In fact, they are somewhat more likely to work than brand new spiffy ideas. While keeping your eyes open to innovation, don’t forget the stuff that works.
  4. Commit to Learning More. Every year (or more!) discover something you didn’t know before!
  5. Try to Avoid Tactics That Don’t Work. Most of us get bad suggestions from board members and other leaders we can’t ignore. But do your best to push back and minimize the time suck.
  6. Become More Efficient at Efforts That Don’t Raise Funds. At some point, you may be forced to do things you shouldn’t really do to raise funds. (Like a gala.) Find a way to move quickly past and spend as little time as you can on these things.
  7. Talk to a Donor Daily. If your fundraising position is anything other than a major donor rep, you may not have much contact with donors. Find a way to talk with donors. They are the best reality check of all.


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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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