Fundraising--Accentuating the Positive

Not so very long ago I started replacing the word “but” with “and” in (many) sentences.  Not a revolutionary action, and certainly it was not invented here, and the results have been extraordinary. The most extraordinary thing is that now, instead of looking to solve a problem, I find myself looking for potential.  Rather than thinking about what is wrong and what we are not doing, I find myself considering what is right and what we could do.

All right.  That sounds all manner of Kumbaya.  Really, it’s just a different way of looking at things. A way that has been helping me and my clients get more done.

Instead of focusing on what is not working and trying to fix that—which is backward looking and limiting—think about what is out there that would be fantastic to accomplish.  Then consider what you are already doing that could help to get you there.

Can you see the difference?  Has the horizon not just opened up?

I grant you, this makes me sound wide-eyed and sort of spiritual.  Neither of which fits me and I still see the difference when I changed my attitude.

Changing attitude is something I’ve written about a lot in the past.  It’s really important for fundraising.  If you think of a negative, you won’t raise funds.  Period.  Oh sure, you might be able to twist a friend or colleague’s arm—but that is not what fundraising is about.  It really is about giving people opportunities to get involved with an organization or a cause that matters to them.

If you can forget your fear of rejection (and I, as someone who often feels as if she is in the business of being rejected understand that fear well); change that feeling of sheepishness to one of pride in what you do, and convey to people the importance to you about the work that your organization does, you will not just raise funds you will also raise your own spirits.

Instead of thinking of all the things you have to do but don’t want to, consider all the chances you have to make a difference and perhaps learn something new, do some good, maybe even have a fun time.

It really is up to you whether you see possibilities or problems.  I’m not suggesting you go off the deep end and never see issues where they occur.  I’m simply suggesting that you in the words of Johnny Mercer, Accentuate the Positive—and I know you’ll feel the difference.


Janet Levine works with nonprofits and educational organizations helping them to accentuate their positives and increase their fundraising capacity.  Learn more at and while there, sign up for her free monthly newsletter.