Digital fundraising is…NOT hard.

Yes, yes. You’ve been at it for awhile, and you might see some results, but you’re not getting the results that make your Executive director swoon.

No, your results aren’t that great and you know it.

You’ve probably read a bunch of info on how to setup Facebook ads or gone to conferences and listened to speeches like “10 ways to WOW donors with email” or “13 new social tricks you can try in your spare time.”

Information is great, but a simple process is all you need to become a successful digital fundraiser.

That’s all I want for you friend. I want you to be successful.

I want you to wake up every day and KNOW that you KNOW that you’re fundraising is on track to SURPASS your goals.

Your job isn’t about numbers. Its about impact. The greater the number of new donors and sustaining donors, the GREATER the impact of your organization.


Honestly, to be a successful fundraiser, you don’t need tips and tricks. You just need to understand how this sequence works and use it to your advantage.

If you leverage this sequence, you are GUARANTEED to do great things for your organization, your team, your donors, and for humanity.

1. You MUST know which buttons to press and levers to pull.

Your donors are humans with human emotions. If you are constantly pressing the guilt buttons its impossible to NOT burn out your list.

You have to learn how to skip the guilt button and go right for the empathy button. Understanding what releases empathy to YOUR donors will help you earn the right to Pull the ask lever.

Pulling the “beggar” lever is about using guilt and manipulation to get a donation.

Pulling the “ask” lever is about making the right ask at the right time that benefits the donor and the people you serve more than the organization.

What most nonprofits do is push the guilt button and pull the begging lever and they get gifts. They get really good at it, but wonder why they can’t maintain long-term donors. They see constant churn and then have to go figure out where they can get new donors from.

However, if you press the empathy button and pull the ask lever – the ask based on your value proposition, not your guilt proposition, you’ve just created the right sequence that will not only lead to more dollars, but more long-term partners.

2. You MUST know “Why us?”. I recently spoke to a group of fundraisers and asked them why people give to their organization.

It was the same across the board:

“We have experience”

“We’ve been serving since 1953”

“We have great branding”

“People love us?”

None of these are REAL reasons why people give to your organization. These are facades that we tend to be blind to. In reality, donors don’t care about how much experience you have, how long you’ve been doing it, or that you are nice people.

Those are good things, but NOT great reasons to give.

Here are some great reasons:

“We’ve created a seamless process for ending homelessness in Chicago. With our system believe we can end homelessness in Chicago by 2025.”

“We help children in war-torn countries receive education and give them a future and a hope.”

“We transform third world governments through a proven model that eliminates corruption.”

Do you see how each of these speak to the donor in the way that is clear and concise? It helps them understand what is appealing about what you do and how its exclusive to your organization.

3. You MUST know why they say “Yes!”

Its easy to get duped into thinking that donors will just continue to raise their hands and give gifts. But, what happens when older donors pass away, or another nonprofit comes along who can make a stronger case for what they do and suddenly your funds dry up?

It’s a real problem that many nonprofits face everyday.

You must understand why people are saying “yes” to your organization so you can help them continue to say “yes.” You never want to fall into such a place of apathy where you forget to focus on understanding what motivates them to give to your organization.

Donor-centric communication has become a huge buzz word in the nonprofit fundraising space. For so many years, PR firms, agencies, and consultants had trained nonprofits to talk about themselves and show off how much good they do.

Imagine a friend of yours who every time you see them they begin to talk about how great they are and all of their wonderful accomplishments, then they ask you for money.


No one wants to be around someone like that. Then why do we present this kind of communication style? Why is it all about us, rather than partnership?

Imagine that same friend who comes around and shares with you a problem they need your help with. Then, they remind you of how your other friends were kind enough to help them solve that problem recently and how they would love for you to join them in this partnership. Together you can solve that problem.

Isn’t that much more palatable?

What will ultimately motivate you to say “Yes” is less about the problem you solve and more about the feelings you get when you become intentional about solving the problem and actually do something about it.

Even just handing over a credit card becomes exhilarating and you know that instead of contributing to the problem, you are contributing to the solving of the problem. Instead of complaining about the problem, you are putting together a team who can go solve that problem with your investment.

The philosophy of approaching donors from this perspective changes the way the game is played. Its no longer about you and your list of accomplishments and how much better the world is because of you and more about how much better the world is because your friend said “yes” to helping solve this problem.

As nonprofits we are in the transformation space. What we do is make the world a better place. And that’s worth partnership when communicated from a place of selflessness.

If you follow this sequence…

1.     Knowing the buttons to push and right lever to pull,
2.     Knowing why they choose your organization,
3.     Knowing why they continue to say “yes”

…you will see a huge shift in the quality and quantity of your fundraising.