The million-dollar question every fundraiser needs to answer

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying…

“That’s the million-dollar question!”

It’s often used to refer to a question that’s particularly important – or difficult – to answer.

The million-dollar question for fundraisers is quite literally a million-dollar question – and it goes something like this:

If a donor called you tomorrow to offer you a $1-million donation, what would you do with it?

You may have variations on this theme depending on the size of your shop, and where you are in the development of your fundraising program.

Maybe your question is the $10-million question – or maybe it’s the $100,000 question.

And here’s another way of looking at it:

Is your organization ready to receive a transformational gift?

This is a great question to bring to the leadership and board table to spark conversation, raise your sights, and get your organization thinking big.

Ask the question using a specific amount to really get your creative juices flowing – and make it BIG (think at least 10x larger than your largest gift – maybe even bigger!)

The key here is to stretch yourselves, and let your imagination run wild. What would be possible for your mission and cause if you had more resources than you’ve ever dreamed of?

If the answer is not clear, you have a wonderful opportunity to dig a little.

What would it take to be ready for a million bucks?

Of course, think about your program/service/mission delivery – but don’t miss this opportunity to think about how to invest to increase your capacity as an organization (including investing in fundraising!)

If your organization is trapped in scarcity thinking, this one question can be a great step towards breaking the vicious cycle.

So, fundraisers, what would YOU do with a million dollars? You can apply this same kind of thinking to your fundraising program! Would you hire more staff? Invest in donor care and retention? Spend more on professional development? Start thinking big about finding new donors?

Get that wish list started – because that million-dollar gift could be right around the corner.

Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraiser who has been helping great causes like yours build and grow successful fundraising programs since 1995. She’s the President-Elect of the world’s largest Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Chapter in Toronto, and the National Chair of AFP’s Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy. Contact Emma to book your free discovery session, and find out how you can work together to strategically focus your precious resources on the fundraising initiatives that truly work.

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