Last week, I blogged about leading in uncertain times. It's gotten the most feedback of any blog post this year.

As I've been thinking about it, the three things that help leading through uncertain times fit perfectly with fundraising too. We shouldn't be surprised - fundraising is all about leadership. So leadership principles should apply to fundraising too.

3 Commitments for Fundraising in Uncertain Times

The times certainly are uncertain. (See what I did there?)

  • Is inflation transitory or here to stay?
  • Are my best donors going to give now?
  • Should I hold an in-person event or not?
  • Will my staff stay or are they going to be part of the "Great Resignation"?

What is a leader dependent on fundraising results to do? Is there anything she can commit to?

Yes. Here are three things you can commit to.

  1. Commit to the Basics

    The basics are still solid. Human beings give generously to other human beings. The number one reason people give is that they're asked. So commit to clearly stating the problem, making the ask, and thanking them for being part of the solution. We can do this ethically. And as Brené Brown says, "Clear is kind." The clearer we get, the kinder we're being.

     

  2. Recommit to Learning

    In times of uncertainty, our worlds can shrink. Learning helps it expand again. There are dozens of conferences, trainings, and lots of online fundraising training. A great place to start is by committing two hours a week to learning about something. Anything. (Hint: Leaders, your team would love it if you spent even 30 minutes watching a video on how to use your donor database effectively.)

     

  3. Commit to what Isn't Changing

    Commit to clarifying your values. And to the mission your organization exists to fix. List those. Find the places where your personal values overlap with your nonprofits. Remind yourself of these each time before you make a fundraising call, write a fundraising letter, or go into a fundraising meeting.

Fundraising in Times of Uncertainty

Fundraising is one of those amazing fields where we get a front row seat to human generosity. So commit to these three areas: the basics, learning, and your values. And you'll see yourself navigating these uncertain times with a renewed poise and more inner calm than you expected. Almost like each is an umbrella you can have over your head.

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