Adventures in Fundraising

A couple of years ago, feeling that we were falling into the comfortable habit of over-nesting, my husband and I agreed that when on vacation we’d have an adventure a day, and the rest of the year one a week.  Now, we define “adventure” very loosely:  a visit to a different grocery store, a new farmers market can count as well as more adventuresome things.  Sometimes, just getting out of the house feels like an adventure. This time of year, I facilitate a number of board retreats.  The focus varies:  From roles and responsibilities, board development and succession and, invariably, fundraising.   Too often board members see it as a chore, something to be avoided.  I want to help them see it as an adventure, something to be excited about.

OK. If you work closely with board members—or if you are a board member—you know that adventure and excitement might be the last two words you would use in connection with fundraising.  But that is absolutely looking at it from the wrong end.

Think about it from the donor’s perspective.  For them, it is an adventure in getting to do something outside of their everyday lives and make a real difference.  It is exciting because incredible things will happen because of their support.

And you know, it doesn’t matter if they are giving at a level worthy of an Eli Broad or a Bill Gates.  It doesn’t matter if what they give doesn’t even cover the cost of receipting their gift.  It matters because they care and want you and your organization to be a success.  And that caring—and that kind of support—is what your success rests upon.


Janet Levine works with nonprofits and educational organizations, helping them to increasing fundraising capacity and for their boards to learn the joy of fundraising and the adventures it can lead to.  Learn more at  While there, subscribe to her free monthly newsletter