Effective Fundraisers Endure the Pain of…


For the holidays this year, I’m sharing my fundraising posts that got the most reactions on social media, and the story behind each idea.

Here’s #5…

Effective Fundraisers endure the pain of creating messages that internal audiences don’t like, the pain of sharing real needs, and the difficulty of being other-centered in order to raise more money for the organization.

Let’s face it – occasionally being a Fundraiser is a thankless task.

There are often people in your organization who don’t like fundraising, or don’t believe you should have to fundraise at all.

There are often people who don’t like the fundraising messaging that tends to be most effective.

There are often people who believe that fundraising is somehow manipulating donors into doing things the donor does not want to do. (The people who believe that know donors are adults, right?!? They know donors are quite good at deleting emails and putting down letters, right?)

In addition to all of that, it can be emotionally hard to be a fundraiser. You have to regularly expose yourself to pain and need and suffering – then share those things with donors so that donors have a full picture of what’s happening.

That’s no fun. Nobody tells you that when you start your fundraising career.

Then Fundraisers must do the difficult, other-centered work of creating messaging that makes sense to donors (as opposed to messaging that makes sense to internal experts). Crossing the gap to donors is hard work.

That’s a lot of hard things.

So here’s my encouragement to Fundraisers in the thick of it:

  • Pushing through these things helps create incredible acts of generosity
  • Pushing through helps your organization raise more money and do more good
  • Pushing through raises awareness for your cause and/or beneficiaries
  • Pushing through is a requirement for your organization to make “the leap” to the next level of fundraising success

As a Fundraiser doing the hard work, you get to help make all of that possible.

Like so many things in life, Fundraising is “both.” It’s hard work and huge reward. It’s sharing the need with donors and sharing the triumphs with donors. It’s conflict and it’s achievement.

Effective fundraising is hard work. But let’s not miss the reward for that hard work; we need to remember – and regularly celebrate – all the good things that Fundraisers make possible.