Performance Based Fundraising

June 1, 2013 -- Issue 1
Editors: Richard Owen Geer and  Harry (Rick) Moody
View this email in your browser


"Fund-raising is hard work, but I also believe fund-raising is sacred work. It offers a powerful and privileged opportunity to be in intimate conversation with another person about the nature of his or her higher commitments and values. These conversations enable them to move the money that flows through their life toward those highest commitments in some way. Fund-raising is all about flow: freeing it, inviting it, channeling it, and enabling people to experience themselves in the nourishment of that flow, wherever they are along its way."
-Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money
In this Issue:
  • Fundraising as Sacred Work
  • Immutable Laws of Fund-raising
  • Henri Nouwen
  • GuideStar
  • Role-Playing
  • Brain Science, Performance, and Fundraising
  • Books of Interest
  • Web Sites to See
  • How to Find Happiness

Henri Nouwen was one of the great voices of Catholic spirituality in the tradition of Thomas Merton.  Nouwen’s own life was a great struggle, and fundraisers can certainly relate to that point.  But what many don’t know is that Nouwen also offered wise voice on fundraising:

"Fundraising is, first and foremost, a ministry," renowned author and teacher Henri Nouwen writes in the introduction to A SPIRITUALITY OF FUNDRAISING:  "It's a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission."  For more on this book, published by the Henri Nouwen Society, visit:


For personal reflections on Henri Nouwen's work,see:
The work of V.S. Ramachandran and others suggests a scientific basis for empathy. The performance of emotion in one person (the Seeker) triggers the same emotion in another (the Donor): 
"It turns out these...neurons that respond to my thumb being poked will also fire when I watch you being poked....If I really and truly empathize with your pain, I need to experience it myself. That’s what the mirror neurons are doing, allowing me to empathize with your pain..."
Click the image above to read Greater Good's interview with VSR.
  • FUNDRAISING. Fundraising for boards contains materials for a board retreat and role paying exercises, click here. 
  • SUSTAINABILITY. "Sustainability" is a popular idea.  But it isn't just for environmentalists.  For good thinking about how nonprofit organizations can aim for sustainability, clickhere.
  • PHILANTHROPY.  The Heyman Center on Philanthropy and Fundraising is a valuable source of insights in the field.  Visit them here.
  • ETHICS. Raising money to do good works doesn't prevent us from encountering ethical dilemmas.  For insight in how to respond,visit here.

The first of those laws is simple: "All fund-raising is marketing."

You don’t like the idea of "marketing?"  Think again.  It's true that nonprofit folks, as a rule, tend think of marketing as something distasteful or unsavory.  Yet renowned management guru Peter Drucker was a big fan of nonprofit organizations and understood the importance of marketing and of fund-raising as a form of marketing.

Drucker defined marketing, as opposed to selling, as "solving other people’s problems."  When we're selling something, we do the opposite: we start with our product (or our organization) and try to convince someone else to buy (or donate).  With marketing, we try to understand what the customer (or donor) cares about.  What problem is your nonprofit trying to solve?  What problem does your donor want you to solve? How can you tell your story so that it solves both problems?

GuideStar's Mission is "To revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving."  Their website and newsletters are an invaluable source of guidance for nonprofits seeking to support their highest goals."  To visit GuideStar, click on the image above.

Performance-based Fundraising is based on a simple idea: by applying theater methods, we can rehearse and improve our appeal to donors: "Practice makes perfect."  FUNDRAISING FOR DUMMIES urges this approach but few nonprofits actually do it:

BEYOND FUNDRAISING among others mentions the value of role playing the ask:
Books of Interest

FUNDRAISING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE, by Kim Klein (Jossey-Bass, 2011).

LIVING PROOF: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference: Essential Skills for Advocates and Spokespersons, by John Capecci and Timothy Cage (Granville Circle Press, 2012).

THE ZEN OF FUNDRAISING: 89 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop Your Donor Relationships, by Ken Burnett (Jossey-Bass, 2006).

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.

If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.

If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.

If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.

                        - Chinese proverb

Copyright © 2013 Community Performance International, All rights reserved. 
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences  

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

Signup for Our Newsletter

Email address:

First Name:

Last Name: