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5 elements of learning and planning

by The NonProfit Times - May 7, 2013

Raising money once is tough. Raising money more than once can be tougher.

In his book “The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising” Larry C. Johnson compares fundraising to both surgery and panning for gold: surgery because it requires specific knowledge and skill and panning for gold because it’s laborious to sift through the gravel for nuggets.

To help get the best of both surgery and panning, Johnson offers several questions that nonprofit fundraisers should ask themselves. They are:

  • Before I plan, whom should I raise money from? Defining the mission with clarity, conviction and attention to a potential donor’s perspective is critical.
  • How do I find donors and identify what is important to them? People give to what they want to support.
  • What is the social profile of a donor? What key things should I look for in a donor profile? The single biggest factor influencing an individual’s propensity to be philanthropic — to any organization — is whether the person is a member or regular attendee of a community of faith.
  • What are the primary motivations and values people act upon to give money? Fundraising efforts built on mission and appealing to fundamental human yearnings are more effective and lasting than commercial or social appeals.
  • What are the top five motivations to give? Once again: to meet critical, basic needs; to give back to society; a belief that those with more should help those with less; to bring about a desired impact or result; a request for money was made.


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