Some people make excuses; others raise money

Don't let slow times slow down your fundraising, image (c)

Are you making excuses or raising money?

If I had a dollar for every fundraiser that's told me they're not making major gift calls because "August is a slow month," I'd be able to make much larger gifts to nonprofits!

I actually like hearing that, in a twisted way. The more people "taking it easy" this month, the more chances are I'll get through. And the more chances the prospect won't be getting more calls from others!

Don't let a slow month kill your fundraising

Mindset is crucial in fundraising. Fundraising is hard work. And, as humans, we are constantly on the look out for excuses to get out of hard work. We avoid pain.

As fundraisers, we need to get over it. Our nonprofits deserve funding.

We need to trick ourselves. Really. We need to be so focused on the end goal, that we stop believing the excuses to stop.

Take August for example. Suppose you are making your calls and you are getting lots of prospects say "I'm on vacation in August" or "Call me back in the fall"? You have two options:

  1. You can roll over like a dog and say, "Ok. I'm sorry." (And secretly give yourself a pat on the back for at least making the call although you haven't raised any money.) Or
  2. You can reframe the information you're getting.

The power of reframing

Reframing means looking at the information you're getting in the light of your end goal.

If making calls is your end goal, then you're done. But your nonprofit could still go out of business. Your end goal for fundraising needs to be raising funds!

My friend Amy Eisenstein told her email list subscribers to use August calls to set up September appointments! Isn't that brilliant reframing?

If you just accept their "call me back in the fall" and hang up, you've got to start all over again in the fall. But if you reframe it in light of your goal of raising funds, you can say:

Great idea, [prospect name]. Let's get a time on the calendar now. Is the second week in September good for you?

This way you're still getting the appointment! Can you imagine how powerful your September will be if you take this approach? Rather than having to start all the calls from scratch -- chasing people down, reminding them that they put you off once already, etc. -- you'll have a full calendar of appointments! Your fall will be transformed.

And, more importantly, your nonprofit will get the funding it needs.

People are making donations this month. But only when asked. Are you too busy making excuses to ask?

What are other ways that you reframe?

Reframing is a powerful tool in a nonprofit fundraiser's toolkit. Chances are, you use this all the time. Where have you found it to help your fundraising? Tell us in the comments below!

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to


  1. Hi Marc, I completely agree that non profits may be missing a trick by only choosing to to fundraise during peak seasons. Did you see the Google report on Chronicle of Philanthropy? It mentioned that donors are looking to gift much earlier than Thanks Giving. Choosing to build relationships with donors early will mean that once they are ready to give they will be more likely to gift your non profit organization.


  1. […] Some people make excuses; others raise money If I had a dollar for every fundraiser that’s told me they’re not making major gift calls because “August is a slow month,” I’d be able to make much larger gifts to nonprofits! By Marc A. Pitman […]

What would you add?