Struggling to meet your fundraising targets? It’s time for a shift in perspective. You and your team work relentlessly, fueled by a mission that’s more than a job – it’s a moral imperative. But, even as you run at full tilt, you may stumble upon a common trap: The belief that your nonprofit is the chief driver of change.

Here’s the truth: You’re not just raising money. You’re raising donors. Your nonprofit might be the brain behind the cause, but the donors? They’re the heart. The money they give is the fuel that powers your mission forward. Simon Sinek’s philosophy of ‘Start with Why’ isn’t just for profit-making entities; it’s for anyone who strives to make a difference.

This leads us to the common mistake—an org-centric approach. Instead of saying, “Help us bring clean water to the city!” try, “Bring clean water to the city with us!” Place the donor at the center. Transform them from passive contributors to active participants. Remember, the goal isn’t just to gather funds but to rally supporters, to create a community of donors unified by a shared vision.

Your task is to ensure donors understand their essential role in this narrative. Make them realize the profound impact their contribution can make, and what might happen if they hold back. It’s about acknowledging their importance, creating a sense of responsibility, and letting them know they’re not just donating – they’re making a difference.

Let’s not forget, the success of your nonprofit isn’t about how much you raise, but about the change you instigate. The journey matters, and those fueling the journey, the donors, are equally, if not more, important. Foster those relationships, inspire donors, and together, you’ll steer your mission towards its goal.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.