Are you fundraising on purpose?

That may seem like a silly question.  But it’s one that needs to be answered.  So I’ll ask it again.

Are you fundraising on purpose?  Or are you just taking whatever comes along?

There’s a big difference.

When you’re fundraising on purpose, you have a plan.

You’ve put some thought into what you want to do to raise money and which groups of donors and prospects you want to approach, and how you’ll do it.

You know what resources you need and the timeline for pulling everything off.  People who fundraise on purpose generally have much better results than those who don’t.

Fundraising on purpose requires looking at the big picture.  It means you know what the overall goals of your nonprofit are.  And you know what your fundraising goals are.

The nicest thing about fundraising on purpose is that it gets you out of “crisis du jour” mode.  You stop reacting to whatever comes along and you start being proactive.  And you’ll get lots more done.

What can you do to shift into fundraising on purpose?

  • Plan your day.  Make sure you know exactly what you need to get done when you sit down in your chair in the morning.  This means you need to spend some time at the end of every day to map out the next day’s activities.
  • Say NO more often.  People who work in nonprofit fundraising are a bunch of do-gooders and don’t like to say “no” to anyone.  But in order to be really successful, you must learn to say “no” to things that don’t move you forward toward your goals.
  • Eliminate distractions.  Check your email, then turn it off. Same for your cell phone. Turn them back on later, but give yourself some quiet, uninterrupted time during the day to focus and you’ll love the results!

One of the biggest problems with fundraising on purpose is that sometimes well-meaning Board members or Executive Directors get wild-hair ideas and want you to implement them.  So you need to know how to tactfully handle these situations.  When you have a plan, you can show that person your plan and tell them gently and lovingly that their idea doesn’t fit into your plan for now, but that you’ll be happy to consider it in the future.

Just because a Board member or an ED has an idea and shares it with you, it doesn’t mean you have to act on it.  It’s just an idea.  Not an order.

When you get a handle on your plan for fundraising and shift into being proactive, your Board or ED will be so impressed, they’ll want to know how they can support you and they’ll stop creating new things for you to do.

In the Get Fully Funded System, you’ll find a whole chapter on making fundraising a priority.  There are dozens of tips and worksheets to help you get organized and shift into proactive mode.  Read more and get a free copy of Chapter 1 at

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