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Fundraising Answers Are All Around Us

How are some social change organizations achieving standout fundraising success?

Hint: It’s less about the latest tools and techniques, and more about organizational culture, leadership and discipline.

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By
Linda Wood
Senior Director, Haas Leadership Initiatives

“Let’s find an outside expert who can help.” It’s a natural impulse in the search for answers to the chronic fundraising challenges facing so many nonprofit organizations. But what if the real answers were already all around us? And what can we learn from those nonprofits that are uniquely successful in their fundraising?

These are the questions behind a new report, Fundraising Bright Spots, by Klein & Roth Consulting and CompassPoint. Commissioned by the Haas, Jr. Fund, the report explores common strategies, practices and mindsets across a group of social change organizations that are beating the odds to achieve breakthrough success in individual giving. Among the key insights from the report: Fundraising is core to the identity of these organizations. It’s an integral and connected part of their overall work, and it’s something everyone has a role in — including all staff, board and volunteers.

In the 2013 study, UnderDeveloped, the Haas, Jr. Fund teamed up with CompassPoint to document the key fundraising challenges facing nonprofits. Now, we are working with a group of distinguished leaders in the field to move the conversation from problems to solutions.

When we first started this research, we suspected we would begin to identify some common skills and innovative techniques that lead to success in fundraising. But what the research shows instead is that there are deeper issues involved. It’s less about tools and techniques and the skills of an organization’s leaders, and more about developing the culture and the systems that are the foundation of long-term fundraising success.

We hope that these Bright Spot stories and observations can help move the field to a better understanding of how nonprofits can break out of the chronic fundraising challenges they face, and how philanthropy can help.

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