Ask “Why? Before “How?”


As a fundraising coach, the first question I am almost always asked begins with the phrase “How do I. . .” .   Everyone wants to know “How?”

  • How do I solicit someone?

  • How do I create the right fundraising plan?

  • How do I raise the most money?

Knowing how is important. It’s where the action is. It’s where things get done. No doubt about it.

There’s only one problem. There’s no “one size fits all” how.” The answer to “How?” will vary depending upon your answer to “Why?”

“Why do my investors support me?”

“Why do my donors stay—or leave?”

“Why am I having difficulty identifying and attracting new donors?”

Nonprofit leadership is often so focused on “how” they forget the first step. I saw a promotion for a popular one-hour webinar recently that covered the answers to fourteen—yes fourteen “how’s” in an hour. Whew!

It made my head spin.

When you ask “Why?” you take a step back and study the map rather than launching down the first path you encounter. You learn which paths of action will be fruitful for your situation.

Principle 4 of The Eight Principles is Learn & Plan. Notice that “learn” comes first. When you ask “Why?” you’re in the learning mode. Once you have your answer, then move to doing.

Funny thing about that. Once you’ve answered “Why?” you won’t need the answers to fourteen “How’s”. You may need only one.

Talk about raising more with less. The “Why’s” have it!

Now that’s a sustainable fundraising idea.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.