Why Do We Fundraise?

What keeps you fundraising? Why do you do it? Non-profit fund development is an interesting and growing field. There are many exciting new things happening in the world of fundraising today. But it can be a hard job. You spend months and years cultivating relationships with individuals and businesses, often times receiving a number of “no” responses from funders. So what is it that keeps you going?

I have a number of friends that are Executive Directors of small non-profits and have had numerous conversations with them about fundraising. One of the major questions with newer and smaller non-profits seems to be, “Where is the funding going to come from (how are we going to pay our staff, fund the next trip, feed a hungry family, etc)?” Fundraising provides financial freedom for a non-profit to pursue their mission. That is one reason that keeps me going. We provide skilled social workers, artists, composers, missionaries the money they need to do the work that they are good at.

Many fundraisers keep doing what they are doing out of a sense of purpose or meaning they find in their work. You are making a real difference. Fundraisers are not just selling widgets or a product but raising money to change peoples lives. I like to think of myself as a social entrepreneur. This sense of meaning often translates to a specific cause that they are serving (social change, the arts community, literacy, etc.) Many fundraisers continue to do what they do because they really strongly believe in the mission of their organization and see the tangible benefit to what they are doing.

Why do you raise money? What keeps you going? Write a comment below and share your story. The Ideas, Questions, and Answers page has undergone a remodel. I am starting to have a decent response from non-profit fundraisers with questions and I am not able to answer everything so I need your help. If you are willing to help answer questions, look at a case or business model and provide some words of advice visit the Ideas, Questions, and Answers page.


6 Responses to Why Do We Fundraise?

  1. Hi Jason,

    I just recently posted a blog written by the CEO of our company regarding the troubles that nonprofits are facing in losing donors. According to one of Contribute Magazine’s top stories by Tracie McMillan, “Donor loyalty weakens as mistrust grows,” nonprofits are losing nearly 52% of donations each year. This “donor drain” can be attributed to many factors, some of which include donors feeling unappreciated, or donors feeling uniformed and neglected despite their efforts to support a cause they care for.

    The article is posted at http://www.contributemedia.com/home_details.php?story=true&id=18. Also, you might enjoy reading the blog I posted at echodonations.wordpress.com. Please let me know your thoughts!


  2. Your point about thinking about yourself as “a social entrepreneur” is a point expressed by a number of fundraisers we have encountered – they find it a struggle but have a great desire to see the organisations they support do well.

  3. Susan Hyatt says:

    I appreciate the focus of your blog – glad to know you are taking this topic on! I totally agree that fundraising is a key issue for nonprofit sustainability. In my work and Nonprofit Toolkit for developing strategic partnerships with businesses, I try to expand the conversation by talking “resource development” instead of purely fundraising. Though I know many folks use the term fundraising to mean the broader resource development approach — I guess it becomes a semantics thing. While the research shows that the individuals continue to provide the lions share of dollars to nonprofits, businesses are another good source of resources. I think there are many ways nonprofits can get support from businesses, especially those that may not have any dollars immediately available in their philanthropy budget, to help further the nonprofit’s mission and programming. I think sometimes, when nonprofits think too narrowly about asking just for dollars, they shut the conversation with a business down prematurely. Then it’s a missed opportunity.

    — Sue

  4. betsy says:

    Why do I fundraise – to help bring change to others and to invite others to be the vehicle of that change. I fundraise for ideals and beliefs that are important to me – I belive in the cause, the services we provide and know that what we do – works! To be successful, donors need to do the same and it is my job to help open their eyes and hearts and allow them the opportunity to be a part of our mission. My work is not done for the big gift or the pat on the back – but done for those we serve, helping our guests receive the services they need and then more, but also done to help others see that they can be the change they want to see in the the world! (Gandhi). Thanks for this opportunity. betsy

  5. Janice Chan says:

    While I certainly enjoy what I do at work on a daily basis, what keeps me going is that I believe in mission, and because I believe our programs are aimed at prevention rather than providing quick fixes. I think our mission also strikes a chord with me personally because of my life experiences. I know I am where I am today because I have a wonderful father who’s incredibly supportive and a mentor who always seems to know the right questions to ask. But unfortunately, not every kid has someone like that in their lives. These kids slip between the cracks and grow up lost. And that’s absolutely preventable. Catastrophes happen and who knows what’s going to blindside you, but when bad things are preventable (young people turning to crime or drugs, the uninsured dying from something that would’ve been treatable if caught earlier) and they aren’t prevented, that makes me angry. And that makes it worth it.

    That was a really good question and definitely something good to think about – thanks for asking it!

  6. Gwendolyn Washington says:

    My community consist of 150 units of mental and physical disabled tenants some who struggle with subtance abuse that have no place to go and little education about modern technology. I have set up a hot spot WI-FI in my apartment for those who would like to become educated with modern technology so they will not feel so lost in this day and time. I will volunteer to teach the basic computer skills. Each month i do a fundraiser to keep the internet going for myself and the people in my community.

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