Larry C. Johnson: The 8 Principles of Sustainable Fundraising
No matter the size of the organization, fundraisers can succeed in the short and long term if they work hard, understand their missions and their donors, and follow a few fundamental principles.
- Donors are the drivers.
- Begin at the beginning.
- Leadership leads.
- Learn and plan.
- Work from the inside out.
- Divide and grow.
- Renew and refresh.
- Invest, integrate and evaluate.
Here, FundRaising Success speaks with Johnson about his book and the fundraising sector as a whole.
FundRaising Success: Why did you write the book?
Larry Johnson: I wrote it for a couple of reasons. If you look out in professional literature, there's really very little that's written for the volunteer, the non-professional. So I really started with that in mind. However, what came out of it was that these principles, if you follow them, show you that sustainable philanthropic revenue is possible for all nonprofits. You don't just have to be one of the big guys. Anyone can do this. It doesn't take a lot of money, per se. And then the other thing that I wanted to address is that fundraising is an opportunity, but it's an opportunity both for the donor and the fundraisers. That will help relieve some of the anxiety and help fundraisers be more confident. I wrote it to show that sustainable fundraising is possible for both large and small nonprofits and also help relieve some of that anxiety that even the professionals feel.
FS: How's it being received by fundraisers?
LJ: I've been very pleased. The early reviews are coming in very positive, and there seems to be a certain consistency about them — that it is accessible and readable, which is what I wanted, but yet, one reviewer said, it has the weight and depth of information of a book four times its length. I wanted it available and accessible because businesspeople, volunteers, they're not going to sit down and read something that's 300 pages long about fundraising with chart after chart. This is something they can read in a couple of hours and come away with something that gives them a big picture. It's been a pretty good reception.