Fundraiser or Matchmaker: Which Are You?

If your favorite song lyrics come from Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire”, you may be in the wrong business. Don’t get me wrong, I can belt out “I wanna be a billionaire so freakin’ bad” as loudly and sincerely as I do “Lean on me” or “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

But, let’s face it - no one starts or joins a nonprofit to get rich. Right?

We have a passion, a cause, a mission! You’ve probably quoted John Belushi more than once: “We’re on a Mission from God” (Blues Brothers), even if you don’t work with a faith-based organization.

You didn’t get into nonprofit work to make a buck.

That being true, if you ask the Executive Director or the Director of Development of any small nonprofit what they spend most of their time working on, what keeps them up at night, or what has the biggest impact on their ability to fulfill their mission – what answer will you expect? What would you say? Funding?

But fundraising really isn’t about money, it’s about mission! Some say it’s about building relationships – but let’s get this straight: it isn’t about you and your organization! You don’t need donors to believe in you. You need them to believe in the cause.

You are simply the matchmaker. You are a facilitator connecting the individual donor to the beneficiary.

If you shift your focus from how wonderful your organization is, to how wonderful the donor is – and demonstrate the incredible work they are doing and the impact they have – you will build a lasting relationship between the donor and the cause. Remove yourself from the equation.

But, ‘hey, we do the work’ – you might be thinking. Yes, you teach the class, offer the job development program, serve the sandwich, or foster the abandoned animal. But you don’t do these things simply because you enjoy it or because you need a paycheck. If you do, then this is a hobby or a self-serving venture, not a mission – and you need to stop asking others to support you.

If – as I’m sure is the case – you really do care about the why, about making a difference, about solving a problem and having an impact – you need to find and invite those who care about the problem to join you in offering a solution.

Once they’ve become part of the solution, be sure to effectively and efficiently offer a solution and consistently share the difference their dollars make.