Why Fund Development is Difficult for Some—and easy for others

Larry-blogheaderWhether raising money is “difficult” or “easy”, has a lot to do on how you view it.  Fund development is a process which develops over time.  Fundraising is an event—a point in time.

Fund development is about relationships.  So is dating.  Both are processes and take time.  Making an isolated “ask” or holding an auction to raise much-needed funds is an event.  An event is done and over with.  Feels good to get it behind you but when it’s designed to generate revenue rather than strengthen relationships it simply doesn’t satisfy.

The organizations that raise considerable philanthropic dollars—year in and year out—are those who have learned that fund development is true to its name.  It is developed over time.  No magic bullets, no eleventh hour rescues, no desperate appeals.  Such an approach takes commitment, discipline and an ongoing investment in resources.


Less time and less pain are fundraisers which are easy to generate excitement for, (relatively) easy to pay for—usually out of the immediate receipts.  They do raise money—at a cost to the organization that is a lot like taking out a home-equity loan to pay for a vacation.  You spend 15 years paying for the cost of the “fundraiser” in lost revenue in exchange for a one-night stand in immediate benefit.


Let’s hope that the all of talk in the nonprofit community about the need for income diversification and sustainability will cause the leadership of our charitable organizations to devote serious resources and effort on those things that pay long-term dividends.


Fundraising is about people, not money.  Principle 7 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Renew & Refresh™.  Consistently renew your investor relationships even as you invite new investors to refresh your portfolio.  Sustainable philanthropic revenue is available to any charitable organization that seriously wants it.

Leave a Reply

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