Truths and Myths Of Fundraising

You want the truth about fundraising? You can’t handle the truth! OK, maybe you can.

There are many truths and myths about fundraising. In his book “Making a Difference,” Howard Berman wrote that while the myths speak only of conventional wisdom of what can and cannot be done, the truths show you the path to success.

We live in a very complicated world, but the truths about fundraising are actually pretty basic. Berman describes them as the “Nine Basic Truths of Fundraising,” and they are all time-tested approaches that define successful fundraising. They are:

  • Organizations are not entitled to support. They must earn it.
  • Successful fundraising is not magic. It is simply hard work on the part of people who are thoroughly prepared.
  • Fundraising is not raising money. It is raising friends.
  • You do not raise money by begging for it. You raise it by selling people on your organization.
  • People do not just reach for their checkbooks and give money to an organization. They have to be asked to give.
  • You don’t wait for the “right” moment to ask; you ask now.
  • Successful fundraising officers do not ask for the money; they ask others to ask for it.
  • You don’t decide today to raise money and then ask for it tomorrow. It takes time patience, and planning.
  • Prospects and donors are not cash crops waiting to be harvested; treat them as you would customers in a business.

If these are the things you must do to be a successful fundraiser, you should avoid the following three myths like the plague:

  • Fundraising is impossible and the process is a mystery.
  • You must have a proven track record if you are to raise money.
  • It’s common knowledge that corporations and foundations give most of the money.
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About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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