Powerful Tools for Sustainable Fundraising: A Quick Guide

I’ve heard it said that you must have the right tools to do the job right.

That’s true.

However—simply possessing the right tools doesn’t get the job done.  You must also know how to use them effectively and strategically.

Such is the plight of a lot of worthy charitable organizations.

There are many powerful tools available to nonprofits to assist them in their fund development efforts.  In the past twenty years or so, this cost/benefit ratio has shrunk dramatically.  That’s very good news.

What’s not improved is the ability of most organizations to use these tools effectively.  Oh, they may get the mechanics.  The software or service may even actually work.  

But then what?  How do the outcomes fit into a strategic whole for raising money?  

For those of you who are musicians, you know that ‘learning the notes’ is but the first mechanical step in mastering a composition.  If that’s as far as your effort extends, when you perform the piece, it will sound mechanical because your understanding and skill is mechanical.

Sound comes out, for sure.  It may even be halfway pleasing.  It will not be the outstanding, virtuoso performance it could be, however.

What’s missing?  An understanding of the nuance, the soul.

It’s the very same with fundraising efforts.  You can raise money mechanically, it will never approach the transformational sums you could raise consistently if you understood the nuance and soul of what philanthropy is and how it applies in your situation.  And then you use that understanding to inform your entire fundraising effort.

I’m writing this for Giving Mail.  They provide a powerful service that enables you to be deliberate, individual, and consistent in your outreach.  These good folks will be the first to tell you, however, their tool is only as effective as the program and strategy in which it is placed.

So, how do you understand and apply the soul of philanthropy to your fundraising? We call it The Eight Principles Way™.  By understanding and applying The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising®.

So where did these principles originate?

First, you must understand I didn’t invent these.  They’re not some cute contrivance or gimmick.  They’re not a “secret formula” for fundraising success.  Quite the contrary — these are empirical axioms which are always in force in every situation.  They are universal because they are based in human nature. 

Success in fundraising is 90% what you’re thinking and 10% what you’re doing.  Too often, that ratio is reversed.  That’s when you’re running just to stay even.

Helping everyone in your organization—from fundraisers, staff, executives and board members (especially board members)—acquire an actionable understanding of the Principles is what we do.  It’s the entire purpose of our firm, The Eight Principles.

We give you—and everyone in your organization—the right paradigm.  We do it with unique training experiences — all action-oriented, group-focused and goal driven.  I invite you to check us out.  Learn what we’re about.  

Most importantly, see how we can help you transform your fundraising program from a collection of pieces to a symphony of virtuoso performance.

This is when you get the mega-benefit that tools like Giving Mail can give.

We’re not for everyone.  Only for those who want to be the very best.  Is that you?  We’re here for you.


Larry C Johnson

Founder, The Eight Principles

Founder of The Eight Principles® and author of the award-winning book, The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising®, Larry is an internationally recognized coach, trainer and thought leader in fund development and philanthropy.

Larry’s thirty-year career spans both program development and capital fundraising.  After serving with the nation’s leading fundraising consultancy, he served four institutions of higher learning as chief advancement officer. He has raised over $500M. He’s coached the board, executives and fundraisers of hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

He speaks widely and serves on several boards including The Philanthropy Council of The Carter Center, the philanthropy of the 39th President of The United States.

Larry is a graduate of Yale and Vanderbilt Universities. Larry and his wife, Connie, live near Boise, Idaho.  They embrace the outdoor lifestyle of the Rockies through back country skiing, hiking, horseback riding and rafting.

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