What are some of the advantages of working in fundraising and in the nonprofit world? Below are a few of my ideas. Feel free to leave some of your own in a comment: Why are you in fundraising? What would be a few advantages that I missed?

You have a great opportunity to spend 8 hours a day working to make a difference in your community. This kind of work makes a difference to me in feeling like I am personally making an impact. One of the greatest benefits of this industry is that personal initiative makes a huge difference. If you want to make an impact or difference you can. Because personal initiative is so important there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit, even in many larger shops, that wants to do work in new and different ways.

As a fundraising professional you have the opportunity to meet really generous people that are using their resources and volunteer time to make a huge difference. It can be inspiring to see the level of influence that some of these people have and watch them use it to benefit your organization. It can also be really fun to meet influential and powerful people and get to work with them.

Fundraising is very relationship based and is a great environment to be involved in peoples lives. Because we talk to people about their money and issues that are important to them we have a great opportunity to potentially impact lives. I think this is the number one reason why I do what I do… it’s way more about people development than anything else.


Sometimes because of one situation or another your organization will not give you measurable statistics. Maybe you are working on a venture project that has not yet been created, maybe you’ve been told to raise money for something that is a good idea but has no staff support. Here are a few things I’ve done to survive in this measureless world.

Straight away I’ll make sure that I can measure my own fundraising success to help me in building a future case for measurable results. It is important that you keep trying to get these measurable results. Do not settle for doing a bad job at showing your organization and it’s projects are a success.

A great stepping stone I’ve used is to set-up equivalencies so you have example numbers of what a gift can purchase. This allows donors to trust in how you will be spending their money but can provide them with great tangible ways of understanding the difference their gift can make.

When facts and measurements are scarce, you have to make sure that you are selling the ideas or founding principles of your organization. You can do this through client stories of success or of opportunity. Even “generalized” client stories of what a life could be like can make a significant impact. Client stories are really great as they provide you a way to re-tell the success of your organization through someone else. People will often connect to a compelling story before a promising statistic or a measurable result.

What does your organization do? I think we should strive for measurable results but when those results are scares we need to do something. What do you do in your organization?


To Measure or Not to Measure

September 9, 2014

It is always good to make every attempt to have and provide measurable results to your donors. I have found, that sometimes we do not have the opportunity to do this to the degree we would like to or should. I have been frustrated many times with how little measurable and tangible things that I […]

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Oh No! Not Another Good Idea

September 2, 2014

Do you ever feel like you have way to many ideas?  Or do you feel like you have a lot of great ideas and things you want to do but never end up with time to get them done?  How do you manage your good ideas?  Do you ever find yourself partway through a new […]

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Development Fatigue

August 26, 2014

Are you experiencing “Development Fatigue”? Many donors go through “Donor Fatigue” when they have been asked too often for a donation but that’s not what I’m talking about. Do you ever feel like you have been asking too much and just don’t have any more “development” left in you? I think this happens to the […]

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Sample Solicitation Semantics

August 19, 2014

Try to say that ten times fast. Sample solicitation semantics… Sometimes we get lost in the semantics of how to ask for a gift so I thought I’d provide you with some examples of ways you can ask for money.  There are thousands of unique programs and partnerships that you could create to help in […]

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A Day in the Life of a Major Gifts Officer

August 12, 2014

One area you asked me to write a little more about is: What is it like to be a fundraising professional?  Many of you already know exactly what it is like in your specific department but maybe you are thinking about going into a different area.  Today I’m going to focus on Major Gifts fundraising.  […]

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Ask Out Loud

August 5, 2014

I have set-up and counseled quite a few board members on how to do a successful solicitation. One of the best pieces of advice that I was given is to “practice the ask out loud.” This means that once you have set-up the solicitation pair and figured out who is doing what piece (ie. Who […]

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Be Quiet!

July 29, 2014

I’ve mentioned this in previous post but I wanted to hit on the point in a little bit more depth.  After you have asked for a gift or even for a volunteer’s involvement and help their should be silence. The next person to talk should not be you, it should be the donor.  Many people […]

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How to ASSURE a Gift

July 22, 2014

What are the steps of a successful solicitation?  Every solicitation should be made up of a few simple things a thank you, a story, an ask, a close, and follow-up.  ASSURE is an acronym (or as I call it an ASKronym) that we are currently using with our campaign when we approach a potential donor.  […]

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