What really matters in fundraising

You don’t need me to tell you the world has changed.

You’re living through it right now, so I don’t really have to rehash the emotional, psychological and economic impact of the pandemic.

But as much as the world has changed, some things haven’t.

While you may not have all the fundraising tactics and tools usually available to you, your end goal, and your ultimate purpose as a fundraiser has not changed.

When we clear away the tactics, and the how-to, then what’s left?

Something we don’t spend enough time with as fundraisers…

The WHY.

Why donors support of your mission hasn’t changed.

Why donors give hasn’t changed.

Why donors stop giving hasn’t changed.

Galas, golf tournaments, in-person major donor meetings, and face-to-face fundraising have always just been a means to an end.

And if you think the end I’m talking about is hitting your financial targets, or achieving your fundraising goal, you’ve got it all wrong.

I’m not here to give you all the answers today. I’m not going to spell out exactly what to say to your donors, what email to send next, or how to replace your lost event revenue.

What I am going to do is challenge you.

Set aside your attachment to the tactics.

Step back from analyzing your #GivingTuesdayNow results.

Close down your email, turn off your phone, and shut your laptop.

Get out pen and paper, set your timer for ten minutes (and yes, every single one of you can find ten minutes somewhere).

And spend some time with your why today.

It could be any why - you get to choose!

Why do your donors give in the first place? Why do your donors stop giving? (hint: “the economy” is the lazy answer). Why do your donors keep giving, or even increase their giving, even when times are this tough?

How about you - why are you a fundraiser? Why does this work matter to you? Why do you need to keep going, even - or especially - in the face of what may be the greatest challenge of your lifetime?

I’m curious - when you pause, and step back from doing-the-do, and find some space away from our collective fixation on what we can and can’t do right now...

What do you find out?

That’s the answer. That’s what matters right now when it comes to fundraising.

And that might just hold the key to the way forward.

Your choice - are you staying behind, and clinging to what was?

Or are you coming along?

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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