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The Magic Pill Myth

As a seasoned fundraiser, I help organizations raise money and resources. I love to help great nonprofits do even more! And there are a lot of people, paid and unpaid, who are trying to raise more resources and revenue for nonprofits they know are making a difference. And oftentimes I'm asked if I can come in and raise $X amount of dollars in 6 months or a year.

The answer is no. It will always be no.

It's not that I couldn't do it. I absolutely could, and I have done it. But if an organization is looking for someone to just come take care of raising the money for them, that is not an organization I want to be part of.

It is a huge red flag and I would tell anyone to run the other way!

Successful fundraising is about connection and relationships and here's how to change the magic fundraising mindset:

  1. It takes time. Much like working out daily will eventually produce results. Cultivating and building opportunities for meaningful connections will build support and resources for nonprofits. Of course, monthly and quarterly targets and goals are essential, but this is a long game. In January someone asked me when the best time for them to start fundraising for a signature program they have this year. My answer was "2 years ago"!

  2. It takes a village. The best fundraisers are your donors! They already give to you and they believe in your cause. And they most likely have friends and connections with the same capacity and similar interests. But they may not feel comfortable asking someone for money so they may need assistance (my Mission Raising Workshop can help them). Your board members (who should also be donors) are also a great resource for new connections and supporters. But often they may not know how to help or how to get others engaged. This is where creativity comes in!

  3. It takes creativity. You may think you just need donors, but you need so much more! You need new marketing campaigns, better evaluation tools, great swag items, newsworthy stories, better Google ads to help you with your SEO, and more! In what ways can you engage people in your mission and get their advice and help? What activities do your donors want to pay for to help you raise money- do they love pickleball, do they want to experience a wine tasting, do they like concerts? Get creative and start letting others help you!

  4. It takes consistency. The most effective fundraising plans are the ones that are looked at often, revised, and followed. Plan out your year and do something every week to connect with current donors, lapsed donors, and potential donors. (Download my free development plan template here)

  5. An abundance mindset will make it all more fun! Being open to endless possibilities is a game-changer for fundraising! The scarcity mindset says: "nonprofits are competing for the same money" but the abundance mindset says "people give to more than one charity and are probably looking for a better connection to one locally." When you approach fundraising from abundance, you create more positive energy that will attract more of what you want and need. Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, wrote "In philanthropic interactions, we return to the soul of money: money as a carrier of our intentions, money as energy, and money as a currency for love, commitment, and service; money as an opportunity to nourish those things we care most about."

The wonderful thing about helping nonprofits of all sizes is you start to see a trend. No matter the size of the budget, everyone needs more help, more hands, and more resources. And the good news is there are A LOT of people who are searching for ways to make a difference. While there might not be a magic pill, fundraising can be magical! As a fundraiser, board member, and community member, you get the privilege to help people make a bigger impact and do more good in the world!


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