“Wow, I could never do what you do. Fundraising is so hard!” How many of you get this comment when you tell people what you do for a living? I always laugh a little and say something like, “Actually, I find it rewarding and joyful. How else can we ‘regular’ people have such a big impact on our world, like helping cure cancer or feed the hungry?”
It seems trite, but I find that the saying “those who believe they can – do, and those who believe they can’t – don’t” applies perfectly to non-profits. Organizations in which the board and the leaders believe fundraising is not only possible, but a powerful tool, raise more money and attract more donors than those who think it is difficult and a “necessary evil”.
So next the next time you hear your board, your volunteers, or your leadership bemoan how hard it is to raise money, spend a little time helping them shift their own beliefs. Here are some techniques you might try:
1. Ask the reluctant board member or volunteer to reflect on how they feel about helping you achieve your mission through their giving. They probably feel good about it – otherwise they wouldn’t be involved! Remind them that other donors will have that same good feeling.
2. Point out how successful you were with a recent solicitation or event or campaign. Nothing breeds success like success. Even if it was a small win, it is powerful evidence that you are on the right track.
3. Share a story of a positive donor interaction you have had to point out how grateful people are to be asked to help. I can recount many times in my career when a donor thanked ME for giving them the opportunity to get involved.
Remember, everything we think and believe about our donors, our organizations and the process of raising money has an impact on the outcome. When we shift our beliefs from a focus on struggle and lack, our donors respond, and the real magic begins!