Success Breeds Success

No one wants to be a part of a failing project; people like to participate in success. This is why it is often easier to raise the last $100,000 than the first $100,000. Everyone wants to know that they have funded a project that is really going to fulfill the initial vision they gave to.

It is a special kind of person that likes to be the first to give. More often than not, people want to know answers to the following questions: how much has already been raised, who has already given, how long have you been raising money for this specific project? This is why capital campaigns don’t go public until a large percentage of the money has already been raised. Everyone wants to know you will accomplish what you’ve set out to do, especially when it includes their giving. Here are some tools you can use to let success breed success:

  • Show progress. Regular updates that donors are giving and giving generously are important to keep the momentum of a campaign going.
  • Set attainable goals. Achieving a goal motivates everyone to be successful and improve the next time. If a goal is too large no one will even try to make it. It’s easier to set a small goal and achieve it and then set a little larger goal and achieve it than to jump into achieving a large goal.
  • Invest in your givers. Use those individuals who have already given to encourage their friends and community to give. These individuals want to see you succeed or they would not have given.
  • Make sure your goal is not arbitrary but serves a specific need. Raising $10,000 because it sounds like a nice number is not motivating. Raising $11,000 to furnish a room at a hospice is more motivating because people understand that their gift will make a specific difference and why you need money to make that difference.

What are some other tricks of the trade? How have you brought about success with your campaigns? Any best practices?


4 Responses to Success Breeds Success

  1. Shane says:

    Good advice Jason! One concept I have been kicking around is looking at your fundraisers inside the overall goal and see their ‘micro’ goals and help motivate to reach or beat it and bread the success you are talking about. Let the fundraiser know what one more gift means, $25 more for each fundraiser means another $10,000 dollars overall, another milestone met. Or find those with aggressive goals like $500 or $1000 and see if they could use some best practices the charities uses to reach their goals or maybe just a nudge to keep going. Those with high goals tend to have deep networks, but can burn out. With the charities encouragement it keeps them going and provides a personal touch. Just my $0.02

  2. Hey Jason, good stuff here. I have a question about your comment:

    “This is why capital campaigns don’t go public until a large percentage of the money has already been raised”

    I am starting an online fundraiser pretty soon. Let’s say my goal is $10,000. Should i try and raise, let’s say $1,000, before I actually put the fundraiser online for everyone to see? If so, do I raise money from family and friends?


  3. Jason Dick says:

    Great questions. It’s not a bad idea to have a couple thousand dollars already raised or to have a few people you know are going to give online right after you announce your online fundraiser.

    Online fundraising is, in many ways, a new domain for people. We are all learning and setting new best practices. I think it is important if this is your first online campaign that you set a goal that you know you can reach and go beyond. $10,000 is a lot to raise the first time you try something. Unless you know you’ve got a large number of engaged people to help you get there I might set my sites at $2,000 or $3,000 and then hope to exceed that number so everyone feels like they have been part of a big success.

    I’d love to hear more about your campaign when it’s done. Would you be willing to share some of your experiences about what works and doesn’t work when you’re finished? I’m collecting them here:


  4. Yes, I will definitely share my experience here. Thanks

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