What Are You Expecting From Your Fundraising?
Have a fundraising challenge you want to crack? Weary of doing the same old, same old yet hoping for different outcomes? Do you want the over-the-top results that come from superior strategy?
Email me with your particular problem, and I’ll arrange a quick consultation, offering you a practical solution you can implement. I may even use your situation to share with my readers. Names are changed, of course!
A note to my readers: Stay tuned for a groundbreaking knowledge opportunity coming next week.
With the new year, fundraisers are off and running. Feverish activity working to reach high goals is the order of the day. Almost daily, another shortcut to success drops into our mailbox.
The question is, do we go for it?
I had a conversation a few days ago with Lora, the executive director for a youth charity in the Upper Midwest, about her fundraising plans for the coming year.
She went through her plan and goals in detail. Thorough and very ambitious.
When she’d finished, I asked her what she was expecting? “Reaching my goals, of course,” she told me.
My response was that expectations are best made using a relative scale. Life is what happens as you make your plans.
I counseled her to:
- Lower your expectation of the effectiveness of your new whiz-bang fundraising gimmicks. (Oops! I meant to say “tools.”)
- Be very skeptical of anything offering success that is immediate and without apparent effort.
- Lower your expectation of finding a sugar daddy. Actually really lower!
- Perhaps lower some of the individual financial goals. At least revisit them. These should always be floors, never ceilings.
- Raise your expectation—perhaps considerably—of what serious goals coupled with concrete, consistent effort will achieve, especially if your leadership is accountable for them.
Lora got these. She understands the need to be realistic and strategic in her fundraising. These two qualities, I told her, will do more to grow her fundraising program than any others.
As a nonprofit leader, you have expansive goals of the good you want to achieve. Certainly, nothing is wrong with this.
You shortchange yourself, however, when you fail to take your resource development as seriously as your “good work.” Fundraising and the work of your mission have a symbiotic relationship. That’s a fancy way of saying that the time and effort you invest in strategic fundraising will actually strengthen your mission in more ways than money.
Your fundraising will be largely what you make of it. General economic conditions, “competition” from others, even the relative generosity of those whom you approach, are all red herrings.
Philanthropy is elastic. There’s more than enough to go around—and then some. Read that again. Enough and then some. Never fall for the scarcity line. Money is left on the philanthropic table each and every year.
The degree to which you participate in philanthropic largess this year is totally dependent upon the decisions you make now.
What will your expectations be? That’s the question.
I extend my thanks to Lora for sharing and wish her the best of success in the future.
Let me hear from you. Please share your situation and the challenges you face in developing sustainable revenue streams. Email me and I’ll arrange a brief consult providing you with practical guidance. I’ll choose some of these thorny obstacles to share, along with my insights, in upcoming columns.
Success is waiting. Go out and achieve it.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
Reach Larry on social media at: