Neglecting Your Fundraising = Neglecting Your Mission

I can’t tell you how many non-profit executive directors and board members I talk with that say things like:

“We really need to raise more money, but we just don’t have the time or people to do it.”


“Our organization needs to hire a development director to grow, but we just can’t afford it.”

When I ask these non-profit leaders why they need to raise more money, their answer universally boils down to the fact that they want to serve more people with higher quality services, and need money to do it.

My answer to them is always the same: If you need more money to serve more people, how can you not invest in your fundraising program?

Simply put, fundraising is a question of priorities.

When a non-profit tells me that they have an annual budget of $700,000, and want to raise more, but can’t afford a consultant or development director to help them, they’re not telling the truth. They have the money; they are just spending it on other priorities.

Likewise, when an organization tells me that they really need to spend more time cultivating donors, but just don’t have the time or people to do it, and in the next breath tell me that they have 10 people on staff working on programs… then it is clear that they do have enough people to cultivate their donors properly, they are just prioritizing something else.

Non-profits are in business to serve people through their program offerings… so it’s no surprise that so many boards and executive directors prioritize programs over fundraising. What those leaders – and most non-profit leaders, frankly – don’t understand is that prioritizing fundraising is one of the best ways to prioritize programs.

Think of it this way – you help people, right? And you want to help more people, don’t you? And the way to do that, you know, is to raise more money that you can spend on programs. So why balk at spending an extra 10% on your fundraising program, or dedicating an extra part-time staff member to the development team, if it is going to result in 20% more fundraising, and thus 20% more people served?

It’s time for us, as the non-profit community, to get out of the poverty mindset. This is an abundant world, and there is money enough for your non-profit to grow and succeed in carrying out its mission. It’s going to take time, money, and energy to increase your fundraising. That’s the price we pay to do more good. But guess what? It’s worth it.

When you neglect your organization’s fundraising, you neglect your organization’s mission.


Photo Credit: BlueAthena7