Book review: “Everyone at a Nonprofit Is a Fundraiser”

“Your nonprofit is siloed.” That’s something you never want to hear. If you do, then your organization’s departments all have their own agendas, lack a common vision, and fail to communicate with each other. Everyone is working at cross-purposes, trying to go in different directions at once, instead of one clear direction.

That’s why the new e-book — Everyone at a Nonprofit Is a Fundraiser  — from Nonprofit Funderland is particularly relevant. It combines the experience and insight from the three principals of the organization — all veteran fundraisers — who’ve seen when nonprofits work well and when they don’t. That is, when nonprofits are centered around the donor and when they’re not.

One anecdote in the book sums it up. A donor visits a nonprofit for a meeting with the executive director only to be met by a rude receptionist who ignores him, continuing instead to talk on the phone with her friend. The donor, thoroughly insulted, has his meeting with the executive director. A short meeting, to announce that he’s ending his support. Generous, long-term support. Ouch. Lesson learned.

That’s the underlying spirit of the book — that a nonprofit centered around the donor, and therefore free of silos, is a better nonprofit. Better at fundraising and better at achieving its mission. In exploring this theme, the book delves into concepts of interest to fundraisers in organizations large and small. For example:

  • Creating a nimble nonprofit where good fundraising can thrive.
  • How and where to find new audiences for fundraising.
  • Why a nonprofit can and should be entrepreneurial.
  • Applying the 80/20 rule to donor engagement versus cultivation in your online fundraising.
  • Ways your digital strategy can improve donor acknowledgement.
  • Addressing the fear nonprofits have about asking too often.
  • What to do when your board isn’t fundraising-friendly.
  • The strongest tactic for fundraising in a recession (yes, the next one is coming).
  • Using communications to engage donors.
  • How to connect with major donors and win greater support.
  • Pitfalls to avoid if you’re considering an event.
  • Why fundraising, despite its challenges, is still a noble and personally satisfying profession.

Everyone at a Nonprofit Is a Fundraiser covers a lot of ground. The only problem is that the content is so good you’ll find yourself asking drill-down questions about details that are outside the scope of the text. But that’s a minor concern. Because the lessons in the book are large and insightful. After reading it, you’ll come away with clear, specific ideas not only about how to do fundraising but also how to think like a fundraiser.

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