Major Donor Fundraising: My First Fundraising Lesson

Major Donor Fundraising

Fundraising is not sales.  It’s about connecting good people with good work.

And I had to learn that the hard way in my early years as a fundraiser.

I started my career believing that if I could craft a strong “sales pitch” I would raise the money needed to meet my monthly fundraising goal.  Thankfully I realized pretty quickly that I was wrong.

You see, in sales your customer receives something in return for her purchase.   But in fundraising your donor receives nothing tangible in return for her donation.  So she wonders if you received her gift and if you appreciated it.  She also has no idea if her gift made a difference for a person need.

To be honest, she does receive one thing after making her gift; your donor communications.  This means that your donor communications (particularly your newsletter) better do a GREAT job telling her that her gift mattered and what it accomplished.

Today, I know that fundraising is really about connecting good people with good work through clear communication.  It’s about using communication tools to connect donors with your beneficiaries and sharing how their gift will help.

When you transform your fundraising thinking from ‘sales’ to donor-centered messaging, an amazing transformation happens.  And the transformation happens not only in you and your communications, but in your fundraising results.

Jim Shapiro
Jim Shapiro

Jim Shapiro is the fundraising coach you always wanted, the proven Sherpa who can help you get to the top of the mountain. He has 20 years experience raising money, including serving as the VP of Development for a $300m nonprofit. He then co-founded The Better Fundraising Co. to help small-to-medium nonprofits raise more money. Jim is married, serves his community by coaching high school football, and has three children.

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