Stop telling fundraisers their goal is “more”


Enough is enough.

Nonprofit leaders need to set actual fundraising goals. Unfortunately, nonprofit leaders rarely do. Rather than setting a clear goal, leaders pressure fundraising professionals to raise more.

“More” is vague and immeasurable.

“More” is unacceptable.

“More” grinds us all, even the best fundraising professionals, to a pulp.

Because “more” can never be reached.

As you look at the upcoming fiscal year, please work to be clear on goals. Some management systems call this a “definition of done.” Beyond numbers on a page, work together with your fundraising staff to agree on what a “done” looks like.

Your nonprofit’s fundraising goal isn’t just “raise what is needed to make the budget work.” It should be constructed based on, but not limited to, your nonprofit’s projected budget, prior giving to your nonprofit, and your donor retention.

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Then, as a nonprofit leader, have the courage and integrity to help the fundraising team reach that goal. And to help yourself create a definition of “done” for your work – a role that will always have more to do.

Nonprofit work is hard. But of all organizations, we can be on the fore front of organizing in ways that give life to each of us. Let’s set the standard.


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