Meeting Your Fundraising Challenge

Typing with only my left hand is hard.  But teaching dictation software to understand your speech patterns takes a lot of time. As does re-working how you write.  Speaking and typing are, I think, different.  Any way I slice this, recovering from a broken right (my dominant hand) wrist will be a challenge. Challenge, I tell my clients, is a good thing.  And, in truth, I am finding that it is making me think deeply about a number of things. Like what is important to me. What work makes me happy.  And what work I really no longer want to do.

For me, as a consultant, every no—on my side or because a potential client doesn’t take that last step, at least with me—means finding other yeses.  This has been such a gift as I have the luxury—not being able to drive frees up hours every day—not just what but how I can best get where I want to go. But perhaps I should edit that word luxury and change it to necessity.

For you, as a person responsible for raising funds for your nonprofit, this is critical.  Looking at what you are doing and being really honest about the effectiveness of the way you are going about your work can be a shock. “Oh wait, I just spent 6 months of my time that netted less than my annual salary,” should spur you to think how you can now use that event to increase donor connection—and contributions. And to consider how you can be more efficient for the next event.

More to the point, picture fundraising at your organization writ large.  Are you the hamster running endlessly in your wheel and not getting where you need to go?  If so, what has to change?

First, consider where—precisely—do you need to head?  Bring in more money, of course.  But does that require (check all that apply!):

  • Enlarging your number of donors?
  • Increasing average gift size?
  • Decreasing the cost to raise a dollar?
  • Lowering attrition rates?
  • Focusing (more or even at all) on relational fundraising, which brings in more dollars?
  • Stop blaming your board for not fundraising?
  • Start training the board on how they can realistically participate (hint:  hire me)

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Now that you know what, let’s consider how.

To do what you need to do—what must you start doing?

And to have the time to start new things, what will you have to stop doing?  Keeping in mind, of course, the things that, regardless, you must continue to do.

Armed with this knowledge, you are well on your way to reaching your destination.

Janet Levine moves nonprofits from mired to inspired—increasing fundraising capacity and results.  Learn more at  While there, sign up for the newsletter and do arrange for a free, 30-minute phone or Zoom consultation.