Fix your fundraising for success and growth: 10 must-do things

Fundraising might seem like a mass of “techniques” that you do.

That’s not quite correct. There are a lot of techniques, and knowing them matters.

But what really makes the most difference for a fundraising program is a lot more basic than that. Here’s a great post from Get Fully Funded that can help you get the fundraising fundamentals in place for success: 10 Keys to Help You Declare Your Independence From Mediocre Fundraising:

  1. Self-centeredness must be replaced by donor-centeredness. Your donors don’t give to fund your excellent organization. They give to make things happen. Talking about yourself is irrelevant. Talk about the action they can take — and why they want to.
  2. The relationship is worth more than the money. It may seem like your job is to generate revenue from donors. Your real job is to build relationships with donors. Then the revenue will really start to flow.
  3. Program goals must be set before fundraising can begin. You owe it to your cause and your donors to know what’s the right things to do and the right ways to do it. Fundraising is putting specific action in the hands of donors. Not just asking for money.
  4. Status quo in fundraising restricts growth. Nothing stays the same, even fundraising that works well. Keep your eye on results and be ready to change strategy if revenue starts to drop.
  5. Working without a plan will never fully fund your mission. Plan your fundraising a year in advance. Then work that plan. You can adjust if you need to. Having no plan guarantees you’ll drop the ball in various ways. And you’ll make yourself miserable, always behind, always running to get things done last minute.
  6. Sole-source funding is not a secure way to fund your budget. As with almost everything else, diversify your portfolio!
  7. Power must be balanced between the Board and Executive Director to provide optimal leadership to the nonprofit.
  8. It takes a team to reach big goals with fully funded budgets. Small organizations often have one-person fundraising departments. That’s okay if you don’t plan to grow. At some point, one person will be a choke point. Hire team members as you grow. That will keep you growing. Remember, every fundraising person is a revenue center, not just a personnel cost.
  9. Growth depends on systems. Know how everything should be done, put it in writing, fanatically follow your systems, and keep optimizing your systems. Without that, you will make growth impossible. And keeping people even more impossible.
  10. When donors feel good about giving, they’ll usually do it again. Do your donors know their giving makes a difference? Do they know their giving is appreciated? Do they get good service? If you focus on these things, you will always have a source of sustainable revenue.


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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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