If you’re a card-carrying member of the “Ain’t It Awful” club, it’s time to drop your membership.

Especially if you want to raise money.

Membership in the club is given to people who

  • complain about how hard fundraising is
  • whine about how bad the economy is
  • blame the economy for their lackluster fundraising results
  • always compare their nonprofit to others
  • see their nonprofit as small (“we’re just a small nonprofit”)

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that mindset and attitude are everything, especially in fundraising.  If you see fundraising as hard or a necessary evil, guess what your experience is going to be?

You’ve got to change your thinking.

Look at fundraising as this:  you’re giving people in the community the chance to partner with your nonprofit to change the lives of the people your organization serves.  Simple, but extremely effective.

So, starting today, drop your membership in the “Ain’t It Awful” club.  Take responsibility for your fundraising results.  Change your attitude. And you’ll see your results blossom and grow.



  1. I am so with you Sandy. Yesterday I was talking to a potential client who told me that they had received a multi-million dollar challenge grant and had already raised a third of the match. In this economy. There are still people who have money, lots of it. Not that I’m saying the secret to fundraising is just finding rich people — but I’m always distressed when fundraisers give up before even starting.

    I especially have little sympathy for fundraisers who blame their woes on the lack of board fundraising. I’ve written about it in my article “Banish your expectation about board fundraising — or why does it feel so good when I stop (banging my head)” http://bit.ly/7Dy15D Telling people “it’s your job” doesn’t make it so.

    • We’re definitely kindred spirits Gayle! I can’t stand it either when people blame their fundraising woes on their Board. Or think they just need to go after the “rich people” in town. It just doesn’t work that way.


  2. One of the first things I do when I work with any organization is to shine a bright spotlight on their language. I often go so far as to keep track with tiny hatch marks of the times they have used negative or “ain’t it awful” language. Groups are often shocked about the high number of hatch marks I’ll collect in a one or two hour meeting. I believe words create experiences. Changing out words WILL change outcomes, especially in fundraising.

  3. Sandy, you’ve hit the nail on the head here. The group of people responsible for “story-telling” in the organization is not the group that we want leading with the “glass half empty” chorus.

    I often spend just a few moments with clients reflecting on the successes they have had with galas. Once we have our focus on what has gone great, it is a bit harder to slip back into that woe is me speak.

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