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December 3, 2021
Keys to Raising the Money of Your Dreams
By Sandy Rees

Sandy Rees
Sandy Rees
There are two things that make fundraising easy #147; knowing (and doing) what works and believing you can be successful. Raising money can be easy or it can be hard #147; it’s your choice.

If you use tried and true fundraising and marketing strategies, you will raise money. If you believe in your cause and you’re passionate about the work your nonprofit is doing, you will raise BIG money.

Successful fundraising can be boiled down to four key components: mindset, mission, marketing, and money.

Mindset is about what you think and what you believe. It’s about getting (and keeping) your head in the game. When you focus on the abundant possibilities you have for raising money, you’ll find fundraising to be simple and easy. When you start thinking that your nonprofit is too small or the economy is bad, you’ll find fundraising to be difficult. You see, what you think about is what you bring about. Focus on the positive and you’ll have a positive experience. Your mindset is 90% of your success or failure.

Mission is what your nonprofit is here to accomplish, but too many times it’s expressed in verbiage that’s way too complicated for the average person to understand. Consider creating and using a mission message. A mission message is a simplified version of your mission that is easily shared and remembered. It’s so easy to understand that even a small child could get it.

Marketing is about finding those people who are likely to care about your nonprofit’s work and then giving them the chance to give. Unfortunately, not everyone will care about your cause or want to support it. So, to get the most return from your efforts, you must get clear about who you want to target and what you want to say. Good marketing boils down to saying the right thing to the right people in the right way at the right time.

Money is something that every nonprofit needs yet most don’t have enough of. In order to raise the money of your dreams, you must first know how much money you need. You must be specific about the dollar amount you set as your goal. Then, you must overcome any negative beliefs you have about money.

How Do you Think about Money?

Your own beliefs about money will affect your behavior and results. Many people are uncomfortable with fundraising. They’re scared to ask for money. They hide behind a computer, writing grants and appeals, and they never get face-to-face with their donors. And it’s too bad, because face-to-face is where the big money is. To avoid discomfort, they use excuses, like “people won’t give because of the economy” or “we don’t have any rich donors” or “our board won’t help with fundraising.” Excuses lead to mediocrity.

If you think fundraising is hard or that rich people are greedy, sleazy, or snobs, then you WILL have trouble raising money. If you’re afraid of things like rejection, failure, the unknown, humiliation, criticism, etc., you’re going to have trouble raising money.

To combat it, you must have passion in your cause, belief in yourself, hope, faith, and positive expectation. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to raise money. You must adopt a “no excuses” approach. You must be so committed to your mission that you’re trying to work yourself out of a job.
  • Always be looking for what works in your organization. If it doesn’t work, either fix it or stop doing it. Remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

  • Be persistent. Don’t give up if one grant is declined or one ask doesn’t bear fruit. Keep learning and improving your skills, and keep your eye on your goals. Remember, when you do your job well, people will be helped and lives will be changed.

  • Act as if it were impossible to fail. It’s amazing what happens when you shift your thinking! Just imagine what you could accomplish if you adopted this one belief.
  • Working on your fundraising skills and your mindset is like bathing #147; you must do it regularly for it to work.
Sandy Rees, founder of, helps nonprofit leaders raise the money of their dreams and strengthen their boards. Email to her at
November 2011
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