How to Face Down a Monster

October 17, 2016



Written By: Robin

By Robin Jordan


This October, the Donor By Design team is tackling spooky situations in development. Join us this month for hair-raising stories and cautionary tales of frightful fundraising!


The thought of asking for money can be intimidating and overwhelming. The planning and work that it takes to prepare for a successful campaign can often feel insurmountable.

Over my thirty-two-year career in the nonprofit world, I have worked with volunteers, staff and community members to raise money for great causes. I can tell you – you are not alone in being a little nervous. At times we can all become a little fearful when it comes to fundraising.

My strategy for overcoming the “scary feelings” has been to tap into the excitement that inspires giving and creates passion-driven fundraising!

Have Heart

Giving comes from the heart. People want to make a difference. They want to be part of making communities better and changing lives. Telling the stories and sharing the impact of your programs helps donors understand the organization’s mission and vision. It also taps into their passion by connecting their interests and concerns to the cause. When we make that connection, we spark the desire to engage, support and get involved.

Be Fierce

Step into your fundraising campaign with a fierce attitude. It will provide the motivation to keep you focused. Preparation will ensure that your fundraising efforts are successful. Having a comprehensive plan provides direction and gives your staff and volunteers confidence. Working as a team with your volunteers throughout the entire process will ensure that assignments, tasks and timelines are understood. Being well-prepared calms your nerves and readies you to take on even the most daunting task.

Have Courage

Yes, passion-driven fundraising requires courage! Courage to prioritize it above your other obligations, courage to grow your campaign goals and courage to increase the amount of your “ask.”

It also takes courage to lead a campaign. Your volunteers and staff are looking to you for vision and direction. They will have more confidence, and more fun, when you’ve offered courageous leadership.

As a leader, it is important to set the example by giving the best of yourself and your resources. Make your donation first to set the tone of the campaign. This will inspire others to stretch themselves and give at their financial capacity. Hold yourself and others accountable.

Successful fundraising requires change in the way we feel and think about asking for money. It takes courage to shift the culture from “asking for money” to creating a true philanthropic environment. It turns the scary monster of a “fundraising campaign” into a heart-filled, team-effort that encourages others to join you in making a difference.

Attach the purpose and cause to the hearts of your donors by telling the stories and the impact of your programs. Be fierce in your relentless efforts. Finally, have the courage to lead and face challenges.

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