Inspiring, Fundraising Words

Words are critically important in fundraising.  They must inspire, excite, and educate. Just as no one wants to give to a mission they don’t understand, they are not likely to giveto something that is “pretty good,” or one that does “an ok job.”

To inspire you must touch a person’s heart and link to that person’s values.  That means you must get to know your prospects and donors, and understand what matters, deeply, to them.  You have to bring them close and make them know your organization—though stories about the people or the cause you serve, the difference they can make in the world.

Think about that.  Are you inspiring because you offer after school tutoring to underserved children aged 8-15?  Or are you inspiring because the students, like Kayla, have learned to study, are loving school, have bright futures ahead of them.  That your clients go on to success and don’t end up dropping out of school and into lives of poverty and worse?

Donors care about what happens; nonprofits want to tell them—in excruciating detail—how they do what they do.  Inevitably donors, prospects, people who might be interested in your work, shut down. Their eyes glaze, they cease to hear. They are done and you are still telling them about the six programs in 4 different buildings throughout the area that offer………..

Sometimes it is laziness that makes us talk about our programs instead of what happens and the changes that take place.  Mostly it is being too close to what you do, living and breathing it day after day after day.

Maybe what you need is a break!  Get out from behind your desk (which a good fundraiser should not be sitting behind for most of any day) and take a long walk, go visit a colleague, have someone tour you around your own facility and try seeing and hearing with your “outside” eyes and ears.

Think about what you always say, then think about how to say it differently—from a different perspective or using different words.  Does it tell you about the things you do or does it focus on those that you accomplish? Do you feel inspired or insipid?

As you speak these new words or consider this new way of thinking about what happens at your organization, open your mind to other new ideas and thoughts.

Make what you do new and bright.  Get excited again, and then go out and share that excitement with others.

Janet Levine Consulting takes pride in moving nonprofits from mired to inspired.  Let Janet inspire you.  Check out her services at  While there, sign up for the newsletter and contact Janet for a free, 30-minute zoom or telephone consultation.