Thinking Big in Fundraising – When Working

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If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s thinking small.  Far too many people spend their time and energy thinking small.  That’s true in the wider world, and it’s true in fundraising.

There are a lot of fundraisers in the world – some professional, some volunteer.  Some work on staff, some consult, some are on boards, some do it as a favor to a friend.  People come at fundraising from all different angles… but there’s one thing that 99% of fundraisers have in common — most of us think small-scale.

If there’s one area where there’s really no excuse for thinking small, it’s fundraising.  As fundraisers, we fight for and fund important, often earth-shattering causes.  (If you’re not working on causes that matter….. well, why not?)

No matter how small your cause or organization seems, chances are it’s important… much more important than you give it credit for.

Your organization may be providing meals to the homeless in one small corner of one small city — but to those you feed, you’re doing the most important work in the world.

You may be raising money to battle one disease out of thousands – but to those who are afflicted by that disease, your fundraising is the only hope they have of finding a cure and staying alive.

So why do we think small about the work that we do?

If the work that you are funding is important… if it matters, if it makes a difference… then the time has come to stop thinking small.  Your board may be thinking small.  The executive director (or development director, or program staff) may be thinking small.  Your volunteers and event hosts may be thinking small.  But it’s time for you to start thinking big.

What does thinking big look like?  It might be launching a new program, a new fundraising campaign, a new event.  It might be reaching out to new funding streams, dipping into a new donor universe, or hiring a new development officer even though you’ve never had one on staff before.

Thinking big looks different in every organization, but no matter what cause you are fundraising for, big thinkers always share one trait in common: they’re willing to step outside the confinement of past strategies to cast a new and bold vision for their causes and organizations… one that will literally change the way the game is played.

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