How to fail at fundraising

February 18, 2020


We love to talk a good game about failure in fundraising.


How it’s crucial for innovation…


An important part of learning...


Even a desirable part of our growth and development as fundraisers.  


But how many of our organizations and leaders are actually putting this into practice? 


If fact, I’ll take that a step further - how many of our organizations are still PUNISHING fundraisers for failure?


We’re sending such a mixed message…


Yes, you need to innovate, learn and grow - and NO, you can’t make mistakes while you’re doing it.


This is especially prevalent in major gifts. 


Now granted, I agree that working with major donors does require a high level of accuracy and professionalism.


But what are we losing as a profession, and as a sector - and what are our donors losing, when we send the message that nothing less than perfection will do?


In this video, I’m sharing three important lessons I’ve learned about failure along the way, including:


  • The best place to start when you’re taking risks

  • The importance of constraints in breaking the cycle of perfectionism

  • The most important action you can take as a leader to create space for failure at your organization. 





Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraising expert

with 20+ years experience raising millions of dollars across the arts, education, health and human services sectors. If you want to raise more 5, 6 and even 7-figure donations your non-profit, you can download Emma’s free Blueprint for Major Gift Success, and learn the 4 crucial steps to raising big gifts (at any size shop!)


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