Got Shame?


Many Fundraisers and organizations feel shame about fundraising.

If you’re afraid to send out fundraising, or afraid to do too much fundraising, or afraid to ask too boldly, you might have shame around fundraising.

If that’s you or somebody in your organization, there are two ideas I want you to lean into…

1 – Fundraising Helps Donors

Remember that your organization’s fundraising gives people a chance to do something good about something they care about.

Donors already care about your beneficiaries or cause. (If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be on your mailing list.) But donors don’t have any programs or expertise!

Each time you ask donors to help, you’re giving them a chance to do something good that they would like to do but can’t do by themselves.

Are they going to say yes every time? Of course not. But are they going to say yes more than you think, if you give them more opportunities? Yes.

2 – Don’t Ask Donors to Help Your Organization, Ask Donors to Help Beneficiaries

Many organizations ask donors to support the organization. You see evidence of this approach any time you see phrases like “please support us” or “support our good work” or “partner with us” or “please give us a gift so that we can…”

In a nutshell, there’s an “us” or “our” any time the organization asks for a gift because the organization is asking for money for itself.

This exposes organizations and Fundraisers to shame, because when they receive a “no” it feels like the organization or the Fundraiser is being rejected.

Instead, ask donors to help your beneficiaries. You see evidence of this approach any time you see phrases like “please help a [beneficiary] with a gift today” or “you’ll provide X for a [beneficiary].” There’s no “us” and no “our.”

In that scenario, a “no” means the donor is saying “no” to helping a beneficiary today, not saying “no” to your organization. For the emotional well-being of the organization and Fundraiser, that’s a big difference.


Shame about fundraising holds Fundraisers and Organizations back from creating more powerful fundraising, from raising more money, and from achieving more of their mission.

Embrace these two ideas. Not only will you enjoy your fundraising life more, you’ll raise more money and do more good.