You can take your nonprofit to Get Fully Funded status, too.
It takes some work to follow the Get Fully Funded principles, and it’s totally worth it.

When you have a fully funded budget,

  • Bills are paid on time, every time
  • You have a full staff to deliver programs
  • You have a reserve – money in the bank for emergencies
  • Programs are open to new participants – there’s no waiting list
  • You make decisions based on mission and vision, not the checking balance

It’s a fun place to be!
How do I know? I’ve been there several times myself as a Development Director, and I’ve helped lots of nonprofits get there as their coach.
Over the years, I’ve noticed a distinct difference between underfunded and fully funded nonprofits. The fully funded ones are willing to do the work. They’re willing to let go of things that aren’t working. They’re willing to try something new.

Here’s the real difference between fully funded and underfunded nonprofits.


Underfunded Fully funded
Focused on “fundraisers” and events Focused on donors
Makes decisions based on what’s in the bank Make decisions based on the need in the community and their vision to meet that need
Lives from one cash infusion to the next (grant to grant or event to event) Has a steady stream of revenue all year long
Most revenue comes from one main source (one grant or one big event) Has diversified revenue streams and money comes from many sources
Lives with a poverty mentality – pinches pennies Committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful
Settles for whatever they can get Not good with status quo and will find a way to overcome it
All about the money All about the relationships


See the difference?
To get a fully funded budget, you have to work smart and focus on the right things. Being busy doesn’t cut it. You have to be busy doing the right things.
Want to see if you’re already doing it (or some of it)?

The Fully Funded Quiz

Are you ready to up your game and become a fully funded noonprofit?


Take this quiz and see how you’re doing. Simply mark the activities that you’ve done in the past 30 days to give you an idea of where you have room to grow.


In the last 30 days, have you

  • Given donors and prospects an update on how your programs are changing lives?
  • Searched out a fresh new story that you can share with donors and prospects about the work your organization does?
  • Looked at your newsletter through the eyes of a donor to make sure it’s interesting and relevant –to THEM?
  • Reviewed your newsletter, social media, and other communications to make sure they are jargon-free, focused on impact, and written in conversational language?
  • Updated your Thank You letter to make it fresh, interesting, and appealing?
  • Reviewed your donor acknowledgement process to make sure that Thank You letters are going out within 48 hours of receiving the gift?
  • Reviewed the text on your automatically-generated Thank You/Receipt for online gifts to make sure it’s warm, friendly, and relevant?
  • Called a donor just to say thanks?
  • Written a thank you note and dropped it in the mail to a donor who has given a meaningful donation?
  • Talked with a donor to ask their opinion on something?
  • Picked up the phone to call a major donor to invite them to lunch?
  • Invited donors or prospects for a tour of your facility or programs?
  • Sent a donor or prospect a link to a video about your organization or a link to a news story?
  • Actively looked for new donors for your nonprofit?
  • Added someone to your mailing or email list, with their permission?
  • Updated your Facebook page at least once a week with something interesting to your followers to keep them engaged?
  • Invited your social media followers to get more involved (volunteer, give, or something else)?
  • Posted an original video (that you shot yourself) online to give supporters a first-hand look at your programs?
  • Pitched a story to your local news media to spread the word about your cause and educate the community about your work?
  • Reached out to local civic clubs and church groups to let them know you’re available to speak?
  • Asked your Board members individually to help with a fundraising task?
  • Conducted research to see what grant opportunities are out there that you might have missed?
  • Called a foundation to see if your program needs match their area of focus?
  • Sent an “out-of-the-blue” update to a foundation to thank them for a grant they gave you?
  • Culled through your database to eliminate duplicate records and update records with new addresses?
  • Reviewed your year-to-date numbers to see how you’re doing so far?
  • Adjusted your fundraising plan based on what’s already happened this year and what you know has changed already?
  • Calculated your donor retention rate for last year and compared that to this year-to-date?
  • Reached out to a donor who’s about to lapse to invite them to renew their support?
  • Updated your wish list and shared it in your newsletter and on your website?
  • Recruited volunteers to help you with fundraising tasks that they can do, freeing up your time to focus on other things?
  • Personally thanked a volunteer for their time and commitment?
  • Thanked sponsors from your last event for their support, even if you’ve already thanked them once?
  • Asked a business to sponsor for your next special event?
  • Asked individuals to serve on your special event committee?
  • Said “no” to an opportunity that would take more time than it’s worth?
  • Looked at another nonprofit that’s a few steps ahead of you to see what you can learn from them?
  • Read a book on fundraising, leadership, or personal development?
  • Attended a webinar, workshop, or other training to learn something new?
  • Talked with a mentor or coach about how you can be a better Fundraiser?


So, how’d you do?
If you don’t have very many check marks, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Most nonprofits have a lot of room for improvement.
The important thing is that you decide to make it better. Mark this date on the calendar and choose to make it different going forward.
Remember this: you can’t do all this stuff overnight. Pick ONE THING that will make the biggest difference in moving you forward, and do it. When that one is done, go to the next thing with the biggest ROI and do it. If you can do one a week or so, you’ll see improvement pretty fast.
And you’ll be on your way to the world of Get Fully Funded.



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