FUNdraising Good Times: Are You Really Committed?


This is the third in a series focused on the prerequisites for fundraising success.

Commitment is critical to successful fundraising. Without commitment, ideas and plans remain just that. Our experience has shown that the full commitment of the board of directors, CEO, staff, and volunteer leadership is key to fundraising success.

People who are committed embody the following characteristics. They understand how much money the organization wants to raise and what the funds will be used for. They believe the goal is achievable and believe in the organization’s leadership, integrity, and accountability. Committed leaders make their own financial gift and ask others to do so. They generate enthusiasm for fundraising and encourage others to join them. They understand where projected revenue will come from and what plans are in place if initial solicitations are not successful. When it comes to meetings, they come prepared and follow through on agreements and assignments. You can identify a committed leader by the way she shares her creativity, resources, and problem solving skills to help advance fundraising.

While it may take time to cultivate and secure the full commitment of your organization’s key stakeholders, this step cannot be pushed aside. Take the time to meet individually with board members, major donors, partners and other stakeholders. Share your vision with them, let them know what it will take to make the vision a reality and ask for their support. Be prepared to answer questions and overcome objections. Always leave enough time for everyone you speak with to fully understand and commit to your proposed fundraising goal. Don’t be surprised if this takes time, for it should. Committing to a fundraising campaign is a big deal. Typically a lot of questions need to be answered before people – including board members – will commit.

After initial individual conversations have occurred, dedicate time during board meetings to discuss the proposed fundraising. An ideal conversation is one in which all participants grapple with the proposed fundraising initiative, ask questions, raise doubts, share strategies and ideas, and express enthusiasm. Time and open discussion are important. You may want to schedule a retreat dedicated to the topic of fundraising. Many organizations have such retreats once a year. Others will host a retreat when planning for a capital campaign or other fundraising initiative of special significance.

Of all the 18 prerequisites for fundraising success this is the most important prerequisite — without full commitment, there is a greater potential for fundraising challenges.

Learn more by reading chapter two of our book Prerequisites for Fundraising Success.

Next week: developing a fundraising team

Copyright 2015– Mel and Pearl Shaw

For more fundraising and nonprofit management suggestions visit When you are ready to work with fundraising counsel call us at (901) 522-8727.

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