7 hard-won fundraising lessons


Blue Sky Philanthropy is officially turning 7 today! 🥳

It's been a wild and rewarding ride, and I wouldn't change it for the world!

I took a big leap when I first started my fundraising consulting business - and today, I’m celebrating by sharing seven hard-won lessons with you.

Fundraisers, read on - because I wrote these with you in mind:

1. Persistence is powerful

There are many skills you need to be successful - and persistence is one of the most important. Like any skill, it takes practice to develop - and practice looks like trying, failing, and trying again (rinse and repeat!)

2. Celebrate every win

Even the smallest. Often, we’re good at acknowledging the big wins, like landing that six-figure donation. What we don’t take enough time to celebrate is all the day-to-day, behind the scenes work that got us there.

3. Success is not a straight line

Success in any field will involve setbacks and disappointments. This is a normal, and an expected part of the journey - but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating!

4. You don’t have to do it alone

Find your people. Surround yourself with those who cheer you on, AND challenge you. Find a mentor, coach, a community that lifts you up.

5. Keep your eyes on your own paper

Comparing yourself to others is human nature - and nothing can sap your energy and motivation faster. Remember that behind the branding photos, promotion announcements, and success stories…there’s a messy life (myself included!)

6. Fundraising is not a zero sum game

Just because another nonprofit has received a significant gift does not mean there is less for you. This scarcity mentality is the result of lifelong conditioning for most of us - just recognizing this is an important step towards undoing it.

7. Health is everything

It’s easy to work yourself to burnout as a fundraiser. That risk doesn’t stop when you become your own boss. Do everything you can to prioritize, protect and nurture your health, both mental and physical - even if it feels like baby steps.

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