Fundraiser. Rainmaker. Event Chair… For most people, those words conjure up a certain amount of mystique, awe, and fear. Everyone has certain issue they care about, and certain groups they are involved with. Most of those groups and issues are always looking for more money to carry out their mission.
If you’re like most people, you wish you could help your favorite non-profit, church, or school raise more money and do more good work… you wish you could be the superstar fundraiser or rainmaker, or the top-flight event chair, who brings in the resources that the non-profit you love needs. But, if you’re like most people, you’re also a little bit scared of fundraising… how does it work? Will people say yes? Why would they say yes to me? How do I ask someone for money?
The Antidote to Fear: Knowledge and Practice
Fear in the face of fundraising is understandable. Most people don’t like talking about money, and with fundraising, well… there’s no way around it. Anytime you do something for the first time, it’s a little it awkward, and a little unsettling. It’s the same way with fundraising. The first time you make a fundraising call, or send out a letter, or try to sell tickets to an event, it seems a little weird – perhaps, even a little frightening. That’s ok! Everyone else felt that way too… all those people at the charity you are working with who are fundraising superstars? They felt the exact same way during their own first calls.
What’s the difference between you and them? What takes someone from feeling awkward about fundraising to being completely comfortable making fundraising calls and asks? The answer is: knowledge and practice.
People have been fundraising for a long time. Over that time, people have learned what works, and what doesn’t. Fundraising professionals have tested methods, strategies, and tactics, and seen what helps organizations raise money – and what just wastes time and resources. Likewise, experienced fundraisers have made hundreds, if not thousands, of asks. They know what succeeds in getting a donation, and what just turns the other person off. When you start out fundraising… you don’t need to reinvent the wheel!
Instead, study the basics of fundraising: how to make an ask, how to hold an event, how to find prospects and build a fundraising network. Study what works, and what doesn’t, and learn from those who have been there before. That’s why I started the Fundraising Authority… because I want you to be successful in your fundraising efforts, and I know the best way to make sure that you are is to arm you with the knowledge that I have learned in over a decade of professional fundraising… and with resources and tools gleaned from the best fundraising minds in the world.
Don’t Forget the Practice!
Once you read through the information on our site, and understand the process of fundraising, the next step is to practice… to run through the material in your head, then out loud… and then to practice fundraising with other people. Ultimately, you’ll need to actually get out there and do some real fundraising: make some asks, write some letters, hold some events. The best way to learn fundraising is by doing it.
Yes, you will feel a little unsure and awkward in the beginning, no matter how well-prepared you are. But armed with the knowledge you gain from this site (and other sources), it won’t be long before you will be fundraising like a real pro.
You CAN Do It!
I know that you can do this – that you can become a better fundraiser, learn best practices, and raise more money for your non-profit organization, church, or school. How do I know? Because I have seen countless others who were frightened by the mere prospect of fundraising – unwilling to send even one e-mail asking for money – become money-raising superstars simply by studying the basics, practicing, and getting out there and giving it a shot. You can too – just keep reading this site, and keep practicing, and one day soon, you’ll be one of your organization’s own fundraising superstars.