Fundraising With the Right Tools

A few months ago, I bought a really good omelette pan. In my house, where I make salads and my husband is the chef of everything else, he has been wowed and excited by my excellent omelettes. I would like to take the credit, but most of it goes to the pan—the perfect tool for making perfect omelettes. Yes, the ingredients count—a lot—and I am the person who puts those together. But without the pan I would have interesting but not gorgeous scrambled eggs!

Creating a great fundraising plan that actually raises funds is similar to making omelettes. You have to have the right ingredients, and then you need the right tools to make those ingredients look and taste the way you want.

The ingredients include:

  • A deep and increasing prospect and donor pool
  • Ways to engage and involve those in your pool
  • A process for keeping your donors happy
  • A way to know who your donors are and what they are supporting

The tool you need is an organization that embraces fundraising. You must have a culture that absolutely believes that raising funds for the work the organization does is a privilege and not something you hold your nose while doing (or not doing, but that’s another blogpost). An organization where everyone—staff, board, clients, volunteers—knows that raising funds is their job and understands that means a lot more than asking others for money.

Getting to this point takes a lot of work and a lot of effort. As with so many things, it has to start at the top. And for a nonprofit the top is clearly the board. Having board members who feel this way, of course, requires that the CEO of the organization understands the importance of fundraising and ensures that every board member understands the importance before they agree to serve.

None of this happens without education. Ensuring that appropriate training happens regularly is critical.

This education doesn’t happen just in a classroom setting—it happens by models actions and attitudes. It happens in boardrooms, at staff meetings, in casual conversations, and formal training sessions. It starts with an attitude that says “fundraising is a gift we give to our donors” and it is a gift you are pleased to give.

Janet Levine Consulting works with nonprofits, helping to move them from mired to inspired. Learn how with a free 30-minute consultation.