How-to: Questions for fundraising leadership

Probably the most important question to ask yourself, as a fundraising leader is: Why do it?

In our experience, fundraising can be an extremely rewarding – yes, even fun! – experience. In fact, fundraising is one of the few activities in which you get to accomplish all four dimensions of enduring success[1] at once:

  • Achievement: Getting results, while solving important societal problems
  • Significance: Helping others achieve their goals and improve their lives
  • Legacy: Laying a foundation for societal good that others will build on
  • Happiness: Satisfaction in a job well done, working with people you respect

The next – and highly related question is: How can I do it better?

Fundraising is unfamiliar territory for many people, and fear of that dreaded “No!!!” is a major deterrent. New fundraisers often are told to  expect a turn-down at least two-thirds of the time. Not true!

So, how can you do it better?

We laid out several broad themes, in Getting to Giving. Making sure you can answer the “four big questions” is essential, but so are a donor-centered and entrepreneurial perspective, and attention to fundraising leadership. Here are some questions to ask, for success in each area.


[1] The four dimensions of success are based on research conducted for the book “Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Your Life, by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson.

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