The Four Noble Truths of Fundraising | npENGAGE

The Four Noble Truths of Fundraising

By on Mar 29, 2013


Last week, I introduced you to my path to fundraising enlightenment and the first of my Four Noble Truths.  Have you thought about Open?  Being open is fabulous; it’s a noble truth that should carry through to other aspects of your life.

This week, my boss gave me some pointers to improve a presentation I was working on.  He said “your slides are good, but you might want to think of a better way to illustrate that idea.  You shouldn’t need a circle on around a metric to make your point.” Of course constructive criticism can be hard to take, we all want to believe our work is perfect with no room for improvement… but come on… we know this is not the case. And, you know what? My boss was right. I was open to his feedback and I’ve been playing around with my slides all week to create a more compelling way to make my point.  The lesson here is that no matter where you are in your career there’s always something to learn and improve on; but you need to be open to feedback.

The second Noble Truth: Question

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Asking questions is not a sign of weakness or inferiority; it’s an important step in moving forward. What should you question?  You should question everything, don’t be afraid to ask the most basic questions.  But, be sure your asking them in the right way.

For example: what’s my goal?  That’s a pretty basic question, but it’s one we tend not to ask.  When you ask this question, don’t answer it with “our goal is to raise $500,000 with this event, program, campaign, etc…” Instead answer it differently, be more thoughtful answer: our goal is to increase participation – we want more people who care about our cause to be involved with our organization.  The next step is to identify if your strategies and tactics will help you meet this goal.  We’ll continue this discussion in later posts.

The third Noble Truth: A Coin Has Two Sides

What?  I know, this sounds very fortune cookie-esk.  But, it’s true.  Often when you look at data you’ll immediately see something.  But, are you seeing the whole story.  It’s best to step back and take a second look.

The fourth Noble Truth: Change

This is most difficult of the noble truths.  Mostly people don’t like change and are scared of change.  I love change, with change is opportunity. Change is scary, but it’s also exciting. As many have said before me, change is constant.  It’s the only constant in life.  If you’re open to change; to new ways of operating and new ways fundraising you can begin a trend of growth vs. continuing the current trend of flat fundraising.

I hope you’ll continue with me on this journey to fundraising enlightenment.  Talk to you next week.


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *