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.