3 Things Your Org Needs to Succeed at Fundraising (spoiler: none of them involve fundraisers)


Hi there! Ever wonder what more you can do or say when your organization is looking for more fundraising revenue?

The majority of established mid- to large-size charities look to major gifts from individuals to secure sustainable funding, and donor trends prove this is a smart way to go. But is your organization holding its fundraisers back from success? Probably.

I argue for a top-down approach, starting with the board and senior management (not the fundraisers!). Check your org for the following. Nailing even one of these items will see your fundraising efforts improve.

  1. Mission #1, Fundraising #2. Charities need to think about fundraising in the same way they think about their mission. I’m not one of those who puts fundraising in first place, but it should be the second most important activity at your organization. Not finance, not volunteers, not HR. Recommendation: Create an internal management team (including a couple of key board members) to regularly discuss big-picture opportunities and threats to your fundraising work.
  1. Board recruitment. Your board must include members with philanthropic connections and experience in fundraising. And not just one token wealthy person who’s expected to continually exhaust her friends with requests! Recommendation: Get suggestions from your fundraising team and recruit appropriate directors from your current pool of major gift donors (like those soon-to-get-bored gala organizers for example). Avoid hiving off this work to sub-committees – it needs board-level commitment.
  1. Board & Senior Management Education. Why bother sending your fundraisers to conferences (did I just say that?) if your senior team doesn’t have a clue what’s involved in fundraising? The fundraiser will just end up coming back to face the same blocks they had before. Recommendation: Increase the org’s ownership of fundraising by regularly including training and professional development at senior management and board meetings. 

Yup, these are not easy and I don’t know a charity that’s doing them all perfectly. Try to get your team interested in this approach and see how far you can take it. I’ll publish a “part 2” to this post next month. Thanks for checking in!



About Siobhan Aspinall

About Siobhan Aspinall: I am a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), passionate about the environment, social causes and surfing. I have been fundraising in Vancouver, Canada for over 20 years and love working with people who have a fear of fundraising. Call me for help developing a first-time fundraising plan, starting up a major gifts program, writing a case for support, or anything else that's keeping you awake at night! Please find me on linkedin and tell me what you'd like to see in future posts! : ) Photo Credit (sanddollar header): Minette Layne via Compfight cc
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