Ten Rules to Success in Fundraising

Gail Perry, Oct 28, 2017

Hello Anaheim Arts Council,

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has talked about "hitting someone up."

Yuck. It's just not a productive or happy way to think about fundraising.

In my most recent board retreat, we all agreed to never, ever use that phrase again. :)

Here's the issue: People who don't understand fundraising devalue this important work. They lower it down into a base level of begging.

They just don't get that the work of fundraising -when done correctly - can be full of white light.

So today, I am launching an email series called 10 Rules for Fundraising Success That Every Board Member Must Know.

Over the next 3 weeks I'll discuss the 10 important rules that all board members need to understand about fundraising.

I'm extracting this content from my new education program, The Board Member's Guide to Fundraising. And I'm sharing all of this with you for two reasons:

  • to help you - right now - educate yourself and your board members, AND
  • to give you a taste of my new video series designed just for board members who want to learn more about fundraising.

Alert: The following is written specifically for board members! You can find the entire article on my blog here.

Rule #1 for Board Members: Fundraising is based on relationships with donors, not asking.

If you’re a dedicated, hardworking board member, you’re probably interested in doing a terrific job. And you often deal with the topic of fundraising:

  • "How can we increase revenue so that we can serve more people?"
  • "What kind of fundraising should we be doing?"
  • "What should be my role? So if you want to make smart decisions about your organization’s fundraising, then you’ll want to understand how 21st century fundraising works."

So if you want to make smart decisions about your organization’s fundraising, then you’ll want to understand how 21st century fundraising works.

Today, fundraising is more than a simple transaction.

That may have been last century's view of fundraising, but it's not how it works today.

Now we’re much more sophisticated in how we build long term relationships with supporters . . . so that the asking is really easy.

So we fundraisers work to build up overall relationships with donors so that they love us, enjoy our cause, and want to help. Then they will say yes when we ask for their support.

Fundraising is based on relationships with donors, not asking.

And frankly, most donors already have some type of relationship with an organization before they give.

So they’ll be asking themselves “what was my experience like with this nonprofit?" If your donor’s given previously, your donor may ask himself:

  • “Have I heard from them since I gave my last gift?”
  • "Was their material interesting to me? Is it relevant?"
  • "What kind of impact do they really make?"

So fundraising is not simply asking for money. It’s not a one-time activity. All of our communication and engagement with donors builds up to the ask. Everything we’ve done with the donor before we ask, impacts whether they say yes.

A fundraising appeal is the culmination of all our work. So the communication and the thanking for prior gifts has got to be done beautifully if you want to be successful.

  • Your donor newsletters are really important.
  • The thank you process after someone gives is really important.
  • Engaging with your donors is vital if you want to develop the relationship.

Fundraising is a long term proposition.

Relationship-building with our donors simply takes time. So fundraising success is a long term proposition.

Success raising money does not happen overnight. It builds and builds as your donors get to know you, and become engaged with your organization, and they keep giving.

So as a board member, you really want to be focusing on building donor relationships. Because that’s how your organization can develop reliable cash flow from fundraising.

Smart fundraising = reliable, sustainable cash flow.

What every nonprofit is after, ideally, is a cadre of donors who will stick with you and keep giving year after year - providing a consistent, reliable stream of income to fund your organization’s work.

Smart board members usually want to see their mission expand so that you can do even more good work. That means attention to the entire process of fundraising.

Your number one job is to understand how 21st century fundraising works so that your organization can prosper.

Don't forget: Fundraising in the very largest sense, is all about making the world a better place.

Your organization needs you to be at your best. Thanks for reading this, and thanks so much for your service on the board of this very special nonprofit!

Dedicated to your organization's fundraising success,

Gail Perry

Gail Perry


Hope you enjoyed this excerpt from my new board fundraising education program. If you'd like to give your board members a concise overview of fundraising, then get them my new video series:

The Board Member's Guide to Fundraising: 10 Rules for Success Every Board Member Should Know.

They'll get 10 short video segments outlining how fundraising works today - to help your organization bring in the funding it needs, to expand its mission and better serve the world.

The early-bird, pre-launch price is an investment of only $279 until next Tuesday, when the price goes up. If you have questions, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to respond!


how to submit news

Simple! Click HERE to open a new email window and enter your news. Tell us who you are and provide contact details. Also, do your best to send at least one good quality picture.

News items will first be reviewed by a news editor, but there's no guarantee that they'll be always be published.

GUIDELINES: Since this is a site for the Arts in Anaheim, news material should be connected to that idea.