Some Things I Have Learned in My Years of Fundraising
17 axioms you will want to know
- People don’t want to give money away. They want to invest in bold, exciting, and inspiring ventures.
- Individuals contribute approximately ninety percent of all philanthropy, year in and year out, through gifts and bequests. It doesn’t come from foundations or corporations.
- Averaging what a group of people will give is a guaranteed way to fail. (If 500 alumni gave us $1,000 each . . .)
- People don’t give money because they should. They give money because you asked.
- You should ask for a specific amount, not a range.
- More than ever before, donors want to know the results of their investment.
- If you have three to four passionate and committed fundraising volunteers, you are luckier than most.
- The 80-20 Rule doesn’t work now. It’s closer to 90% of the money comes from 4 to 5% of the donors.
- Donors give to exciting and audacious dreams.
- Always keep a board member between you and a problem.
- Donors give to change lives and save lives.
- No organization will rise above the strength and commitment of its board.
- Expensive brochures are often a negative. Like children— much beloved by their parents, but barely tolerated by others.
- A Donor wants to know: Why should I give to this organization? Why this project? Why now? Why me?
- You can’t sell a vision and ask for a gift in 45 minutes. Sometimes you have to marry the girl.
- It often takes a long period of cultivation. You don’t make a pickle by sprinkling a little vinegar over it. You have to immerse it.
- You can be certain that any left-over bagels or cookies will find their way to the development office following a board or committee meeting.