Still waiting for that magic bullet? That one thing that you’ll do that will bring in all the money? That special thing that is keeping you from doing actual fundraising because, well, you know, you need so much more right now than anything you could be doing to get your fundraising plan started?
And oh yeah. That plan? The one you haven’t had time to work on because, well, things are really sloooow on the funding front and you need to raise money.
How is that working for you?
I wish I could say, “Ha! I’m just being sarcastic and gnarly here.” But I’m not. I hear this sort of stuff all the time. I get calls from organizations who need to raise money yesterday, but can’t quite commit to hiring me, because what I do won’t solve the immediate problem. What I do will help them to build a comprehensive, robust and more than sustainable source of funding. But will take time. And it will take effort.
I hear it from clients who have hired me, and don’t have the time to meet because—you know—they are in a financial crisis. Which I don’t understand at all. Because isn’t this why you hired me? Wasn’t the plan to well, plan so this didn’t keep happening? Wasn’t the idea to actually, finally, get down to the hard work of raising funds? And what are you doing instead? That’s a real question. You are too busy to meet with me, so you must be doing something—but somehow that never, ever, translate into stopping your financial hiccup.
Here’s a truth: Fundraising is very hard work. It takes time and it takes structure. It would be lovely if it were simply an art, but honestly, it is a science. And like the scientific method, it means taking steps in a particular order, and understanding that, often, you will have to do a step you’ve done again and again. It’s linear but there are sidebars along with the retreats.
Done consistently, with a plan of action that is pre-thought out (and written out). And honestly, if you do it that way, you will—I promise—raise money.
Keep doing it and over time, you will raise enough to run your programs, pay your staff and raise even more money.
Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping to move them from mired to inspired. Let Janet help you and your nonprofit be Never Too Busy To Fundraise.