Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Are There Too Many Nonprofits Competing for Donations?

It happens to everyone.


At some point, you’ll take your eye off the prize long enough to realize there are lots of other nonprofits out there, and they’re all asking for money, just like you.


It’s easy to worry. “What if more people give to them instead of us? Their cause is sexier than ours!”


Should you worry about competing with established nonprofits? 


The answer is simple – No.  There’s enough money out there for everyone.


If everyone who gives to charity simply gave 1% more, we’d all be swimming in resources!  Instead of worrying about competitors, focus on increasing your giving 1%.


You must ditch the small thinking.


Worrying about competition comes from a negative money mindset. It comes from a line of thinking that assumes there’s a winner and a loser. When someone else wins, you lose.


You’re likely comparing your nonprofit to others, and from the outside, lots of groups look really successful. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they’re better than you or doing better work than you or more deserving of someone’s donation.


You have to stop.


Focus on the lives that are being changed because of the work your nonprofit does. Believe in what you’re doing and others will too.


 Not too long ago, there was a story in the news of a million dollar gift given to the local university.  Many smaller nonprofits told me they were feeling depressed about it.  They want to receive that level of gift, but weren’t sure they ever could.


I certainly understand, but here’s the truth about competition among nonprofits:  People give to organizations and causes they care about. 


Your job is to keep doing business as usual in your Development office and know that, if anything, this proves that there is plenty of money out there to be donated.  Don’t worry about what another organization is doing – stay focused on your dreams, your vision, your goals, and your plan.


The best thing you can do is to continue to build relationships with your donors.  Keep getting to know them.  Keep taking them to lunch.  Keep sending handwritten notes.  Keep learning about them and why they care about your organization. Keep giving them a good experience with your nonprofit.


And don’t be afraid of any other organization’s success.  In fact, be grateful.  When individuals feel the rush from making a large gift, it usually encourages them to want to do it again. Next time, it could be you receiving a large gift!

How to Break Through Your Money Ceiling

Money Ceiling, Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded, fundraising coach
Did you know there’s an upper limit to how much money you’re comfortable asking for? It’s called a money ceiling and we all have one.

We’ve all got a number and it’s somewhere close to the biggest gift you can imagine getting. Can you see yourself asking for and getting $500? How about $5,000? $50,000? $5 million? More? Think through the possibilities and see if you can find your money ceiling.

Whatever the number, anything beyond that feels unrealistic and is not in the realm of possibility. In fact, you may start to laugh at a certain number. When we do a money ceiling exercise in a workshop, the nervous laughter tells us when we’ve hit someone’s money ceiling.

Your money ceiling may be different from your coworkers or your Board. We’re all a little different. That’s because your money ceiling is set by your experience with money over your lifetime. Are you someone who has known what it’s like to not have enough money for basic needs or someone who has never struggled? Are you someone who struggles to live within their means or has a lot of debt? Were you taught to pay cash and avoid credit card debt? Was putting money away in savings something that was highly valued? All of this and more helped to set your money ceiling.

Why all this personal digging?

Because your personal money ceiling will have a huge impact on the amount of money you can raise.

Think about it – if you can’t imagine someone ever giving more than $5,000 to your nonprofit, you’ll never see donations come in higher than that.

Want to try to expand your money ceiling? It takes work. You must try very purposefully to get a gift that’s significantly higher than your money ceiling. Write that number down and post it where you can see it regularly. Get used to the number. Tell yourself it will happen. Heck, go ahead and write the thank-you letter that you’ll send when someone makes that gift. Then get ready, because it will happen.

If you really want to raise big money, you have to understand yourself and your personal attitudes around money. Remember this – you’ll never raise more money than you think you can.

So, as you think about raising your money ceiling and aiming higher, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Are you really willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal of raising more money…big money? When you can answer “Yes,” then you are ready.

We would love to hear to your thoughts about fundraising and the money ceiling or how you’ve worked to raising your money ceiling. Share your comments on the Get Fully Funded Facebook page at

Motivational Monday: Make magic

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Motivational Monday: Don’t Give Up

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Most Important Fundraising Resource is Relationships

A Nonprofit 180: CASA of the Tennessee Heartland

We all love a good story about an underdog who is able to turn around a seemingly impossible situation. It gives us hope that we can do it ourselves.

Naomi Asher - Nonprofit 180 - Get Fully Funded, Sandy Rees, fundraising coach

Well, I wouldn’t exactly call Naomi Asher an underdog, but she’s a determined Executive Director who turned her organization around 180 degrees and went from disaster to dynamo.

In 2010, CASA of the Tennessee Heartland was facing some very serious issues. There was significant debt, the Board and staff were unengaged, and things were looking bleak. Fundraising was going backward instead of forward, and while everyone knew something needed to change, no one knew exactly how to break the status quo.

In July of that year, the Executive Director retired, and Naomi was promoted from Administrative Assistant to Executive Director of this small organization. She believed in the mission and was determined to turn things around.

“I told the Board when they hired me that we have to do whatever it takes to make this work,” Naomi told me. And of course, not everyone wanted to be part of that, so they lost some Board members. In fact, they got down to just a handful of people, but they were committed, and the group agreed to pull together.

They started by changing their mindset. Naomi had heard me speak a couple of times about finding the right donors, and she decided they would stop begging and start looking for ideal donors.

“We decided to respect that not everyone in the community would love us. So we just kept looking for the right people.”

They also kept looking for good people to add to their Board, and gradually grew it to the size it is today (12 members).

“We also started evaluating everything. We evaluated staff, we evaluated events, we evaluated everything we could to see how we could do it better or stop doing it. Our one big event had been declining for the past few years, so the Board and I decided that we would either stop doing it or do it really well. We changed a few things about it and doubled the income right away.”

In 2012, Naomi attended Get Fully Funded LIVE! and started using the Get Fully Funded System for annual fundraising. These tools, along with the Get Fully Funded Club, helped shore up her confidence and her skill in raising money. Add to that her sheer determination to succeed, and it was a recipe for success.

Because of the can-do attitude, the organization is now flourishing and has expanded its programs to serve more children. Staff retention is up, volunteers are happier, the Board is engaged, and best of all, the debt is gone plus there’s a substantial reserve in place.Sandy Rees, fundraising coach, Get Fully Funded

How long did the turnaround take?

“It happened very fast. Since I had been the Admin for a while, I had lots of ideas about how I would do things different.”

Within just a year, Naomi had implemented many changes that have had long-lasting effects.

“With such a small Board, it was easier to move forward quickly.”

There were ultimately two keys to success in turning the organization around.

First was the comprehensive look at everything.

“We evaluated everything. We asked ourselves ‘How are we supposed to get better if we don’t know what we’re doing well and what we aren’t?’”

Second was the mindset shift.

“We stopped being desperate and begging. Now, we don’t beg. We give people the opportunity to get involved with us.”

Just to give you an idea of the size of CASA of the Tennessee Heartland, they recently celebrated their 25th year, they have a budget of $210,000, and have a staff of 8 with 4 interns.

You can learn more about CASA of the Tennessee Heartland at

Motivational Monday: Show your donors you care

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Show your donors how much they matter to your organization.

Motivational Monday - Sandy Rees, Fundraising Coach, Get Fully Funded

















Motivational Monday: Dreams with Deadlines

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