Fifteen Things I Have Learned in My Years of Fundraising
1. Individuals contribute approximately ninety percent of all philanthropic gifts made each and every year.
2. Averaging what a group of people will give is a guaranteed way to fail. (If 500 alumni gave us $1,000 each . . .)
3. Many CEOs, wealthy contributors, and entrepreneurs have a very limited understanding of what makes fundraising work.
4. People don’t give money because they should. They give money because they are asked.
5. You should ask for a specific amount, especially in a capital campaign that depends on a few large gifts.
6. The Case Statement is as much an internal statement of priorities as it is a fundraising solicitation document.
7. No one gives to maintain the status quo.
8. If you have three to four really great fundraising volunteers, you are luckier than most development officers! You will be successful.
9. It is sometimes easier to raise $6 million than $600,000.
10. Donors give to exciting and audacious dreams.
11. Always keep a board member between you and a problem.
12. No organization will rise above the strength and commitment of its board.
13. A Donor wants to know: Why this organization? Why this project? Why now? Why me?
14. Everything will take longer than you think.
15. You can be certain that any left-over bagels or cookies will find their way to the development office following a board or committee meeting.
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