Work Those Basics, Baby
I admit it: I’m a dieter. If you could get paid for losing weight — or, more precisely, trying to lose weight — I would be part of the uppermost echelon of professional weight-loss superstars. I would lead my class in picking apart books, Web sites and the gray matter of medical professionals in search of the (drumroll, please) Keys to Weight Loss Success.
But I already have those keys — and they’re nothing more complex than eating smart and exercising more. Add all the bells and whistles you want to that equation: fancy names, pseudo-scientific theory, celebrity endorsements … but the fact is that once you know the basics, it’s simply a matter of maneuvering them in ways that work for you.
I think the same can be said for fundraising. There are rock-solid tenets that, once you’ve explored and mastered them, will serve you well no matter what your mission or the size of your budget or housefile.
But I feared that maybe we here at FS were missing something. That perhaps there was out there, as Senior Editor Paul Barbagallo so adroitly put it, “an alternate universe of fundraising that we know nothing about.”
That pithy comment opened a floodgate of conversation and speculation both here in our offices and out there, among our readers and advertisers, about the nature of nonprofit fundraising.
The upshot? It turns out my suspicions were correct. There is, at the heart of fundraising, a set of rules, the nitty gritty that fuels every campaign. Rules without which an organization will fall far short of its development goals.
Of course, there are new twists on the tried and true: the burgeoning motherlode that is e-philanthropy … the simmering debate over modeling vs. RFM … cutting-edge technologies, for example. But those are just the manipulation of the basics I talked about.