Rule #1 “There are rules in fundraising”

There are rules in fundraising, just like there are in quantum physics or any other field of study. Granted, these rules are not as complicated and involve a fairly low level of mathematical ability or else I’d be searching on LinkedIn for another job.

Let me be clear, following the rules won’t guarantee success, but NOT following them will likely lead you to a much longer learning curve and quite possibly…failure.

To enable you to shorten your learning curve, try to visualize five or six veteran fundraisers sitting in the coffee shop of some hotel where a Christian conference is being held. By now, most of them have been consultants for many years. One of them is telling a story about a recent exchange with a client. That’s what consultants do when they get together, they talk shop. The story being told is all too familiar. All the members of the group have been in this story themselves. They know the problem being described, and they know just how it’s going to end. Experience is a great teacher, and all of them have a great deal of it. But it’s not just experience that allows them to know how the story is going to end. All of them know there are specific inviolate rules in successful fundraising. The story they’re listening to has revealed the breaking of at least one of the rules. So the story has to end badly.

Until now, no one I know has taken the time to write down the Rules of Fundraising; or perhaps they haven’t wanted to expose these secrets or rules, fearing it might render their own knowledge less valuable. But as I see it, the rules existed long before I encountered them, and they’ll be around long after I am gone, so let’s see if we can do some good along the way. I must quickly add, however, this is not a comprehensive listing of the Rules of Fundraising; they’re only the rules I have been able to gather from colleagues or learn by making my own mistakes thus far.

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