Fundraising–Just Do It

Somedays I feel as if I am a broken record. And surely, I’ve written this posting again and again. What else is there to say about fundraising? It’s about relationships. It must be intentional. Consistently and clarity are all important.
I find myself in conversations about fundraising (is there another topic, really?), and think, “Ummm, I should write about that” but when I sit down to write, I feel defeated. Been there, done that. I need to do something new.
And maybe that is the problem. We are all looking for that new thing–shiny or not–and not willing to keep on slogging on with the tried and true. I send out my monthly newsletter and every single time, someone asks me what I know about crowdfunding or how to use the latest social media platform to raise money. And I think, wait a minute, it’s all pretty much of a piece.
How you can best raise money depends in large part on a few things:
How much do you need to raise and for what purposes?
Who are the prospects you have reason to believe will support your work? How many of them are on your database? What is their history with you?
What would be the best techniques (yes, plural) to reach these people?
How are you defining your need or needs? Are you being cognizant of your donors as much as your clients? Are you clear about what you do and talking about that rather than describing how you do it. People care much more about your accomplishments than journey you take to reach that finish line.
And finally, who do you have to do the work?
Having complete answers to these questions will help you to create a plan (yes, that word again) that will help you to get there. The plan must have a few parts:
What techniques will you use?
What does it look like (for example, if you are doing a mail appeal–what platforms will you utilize, over what period of time, what is the focus)
When will do this?
Who are the target audiences?
How much do you anticipate raising (Gross)
How much will it cost?
Who is involved?
What is this good for? By that I mean, is this a technique that will bring new people to our table? Help us to create loyal donors? Increase giving from a select group of donors? Bring back former donors? Remember, some things can be all things to all people, but some will be best for one or another.
As you answer these questions, and begin filling out a calendar with what you think you will be doing, when, you can have an immediate reality check–can I do these things with my (human) resources at the times I have decided upon? What needs to be tweaked or changed?
To help you decide, create a technique planning sheet where you will figure out the budget and define the steps you must take to raise these funds.
Alas, once you build your plan, they will NOT come, unless they get a clear invitation. Often with a followup. More often with several. Implementation is where it seems to all fall down. We think we will drop an annual appeal in October, but here it is November and we haven’t written the appeals for the letter let alone for the other platforms we intended to use. And we were going to do 2 face-to-face cultivation and/or solicitation meetings a month. Which means we have to call on at least 8 good prospects, but we neglected to do that. Oh well.
So here, get honest. What is really keeping you back? And what do you need to institute to get you moving?

Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them to get moving and raise more money. Learn more at While there, sign up for the free newsletter and ask Janet for a free 30-minute consultation.


About janetlevineconsulting

For over 20 years, Janet Levine has worked for and with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping to grow their advancement programs. Her consulting company, Janet Levine Consulting, serves a wide range of organizations from small, all-volunteer agencies to major national organizations. She regularly teaches courses in non-profit management, fundraising and grant development, both face-to-face and online at In addition to her nonprofit work, Janet brings years of experience as a business and sales manager in the for-profit sector. She has an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
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2 Responses to Fundraising–Just Do It

  1. Lauren says:

    Great post, Janet. Like you said, relationships are so important when dealing with donations or fundraising. People who are giving want to feel appreciated and feel like their donation is making a difference. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the article 🙂

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