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When Did Fundraising Stop Being Fun? 3 Ways to Bring the Joy Back

The following is a cross-post by Amy Eisenstein, author, speaker, trainer, and owner of Tri Point Fundraising, a full-service consulting firm. You can find the original post here.

Bored Board? Have fun again! Bored Board? Have fun again!

One of my goals as a trainer, author, speaker and consultant is to make fundraising more fun and joyful for board and staff members.

Are you having fun with fundraising?

Many of my clients hired me to reinfuse staff and board members with enthusiasm, motivation, and passion for their cause. And, to put fun into fundraising.

If You’re Not Having Fun, You Already Know It

If you’re no longer joyful with your fundraising work, be sure to focus on big picture and the happiness that is the result of fundraising — a new school building, a cleaner environment, a community art center, cures for diseases, after school programs, a safer community, and so much more.

Why did you get into the philanthropic sector in the first place?

If you’re feeling frustrated and bogged down by fundraising, take a moment to remember that there is joy in giving and receiving. Through fundraising, you have a chance to make the world a better place.

Focus on the kids in your town who are fundraising. For example, the high school track team holding a car wash in the school parking lot, or the girl scouts selling cookies. They are having a wonderful time. If they can do it, so can you.

And Your Donors Know It, Too

If you’re not having fun, your donors probably know it and steer clear. Would you want to hang out with you, if you were frustrated and angry?

I truly believe that what you put out to the universe comes back to you. So make sure you’re radiating joy and gratitude.

3 Ways to Make Fundraising Fun Again

1. Talk To Your Donors

Get out of your office and talk to your donors at their home or office. Don’t ask them for money. Ask them what they love about your organization and why they have given in the past. This serves two purposes:

  1. It will remind them why they love your organization.
  2. It will motivate you to keep doing what you do best.

2. Try Something New

Attend a fundraising training, workshop or conference and apply something you learn. Try a new fundraising technique. Stop doing the same old thing you’ve done every year, simply because you did it last year, and the year before. Anything new could reinvigorate your routine. What’s more, you might even discover a great new way raise more money.

3. Find a Mentor

Identify three seasoned fundraising professionals in your area and invite them (one at a time) to lunch. Ask them how they stay motivated, focused, and successful. Ask them what professional development activities they attend and if you could join them. If you’re not already a member, join the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). AFP is where I’ve met hundreds of fundraising mentors, colleagues, and friends.

One More Way

It comes down to one word: love.

Yes, love your donors. It may sound cliché, but really take it to heart. Feel grateful for your donors, never resentful, and they will give back time and again.

Going Further

Check out this post from my friend and colleague, Gail Perry, who talks about fundraising as throwing the best party in town!

Are you having fun with fundraising? Or are certain things making you feel frustrated? If so, tell me all about it in the comments.

Amy Eisenstein, MPA, CFRE specializes in fundraising consulting for local and national nonprofits. She's raised millions of dollars through event planning, grant writing, capital campaigns, and major gift solicitations. Her "no-nonsense" approach to fundraising yields big results for her clients and followers.

Topics: Fundraising