Fundraising isn’t a Job, it’s a Culture

Nonprofits depend on fundraising, but every organization handles it differently. Sometimes it’s the job of a few people to fundraise for the entire organization. At other times, everyone is required to take part. No matter which end of the spectrum your organization falls, fundraising should never just be a job; fundraising should be a key component in the culture of your organization.

There are many excuses that prevent staff from fundraising. Some of these may have grounds, but “I’m just not good at fundraising” or “I don’t know how to deliver the ask” are not legitimate barriers. In an ideal nonprofit organization, staff members are committed to their organization’s mission. They can find a job anywhere, but there is a reason they are part of your organization. There is a passion inside your staff that keeps them working hard towards your mission even when they feel burned out or exhausted. This is a key starting point for equipping your staff to become fundraisers even if it isn’t their job title.

In my experience, fundraising can be both exhausting and energizing. The administrative side of things can be a lot of work, but when you get to actually talk to someone and share your passion with them, it all becomes worth it. You get to share your own personal story – something that you care about deeply and want to give others a chance to experience the same. One of the most fulfilling parts of fundraising is listening to the stories and passions of other people and seeing how they connect with yours. When that connection is made, it’s only natural for that person to want to be involved.

In order for every one of your staff to be fundraisers at heart, three questions need to be asked:

  • What are we doing as an organization?
  • Why do I love what I do?
  • How can others get involved today?

In order to incorporate fundraising into the culture of your organization, make sure that every staff member can answer these three simple questions. When a person can answer these questions in a moments notice, they are a fundraiser at heart. They can pounce on any opportunity to share their passion, hear what someone else is passionate about, and provide an opportunity for this person to also be involved in the mission.

So how can you know if your fellow staff members can answer these questions? Ask them! If donations are not the only way that others can be involved, make sure everyone in the organization knows it. Send out weekly updates of opportunities for others to get involved, or share some of the stories of your staff. Let it be known that fundraising IS a part of your culture. What if it was out of the ordinary for a staff member to not provide other people with opportunities to be involved? What would your organization look like if this was truly the case?

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