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Book Review: Improve Your Fundraising by Tackling Your Own Issues First

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Book review: Get That Money, Honey! By Rhea Wong


There’s fundraising, and there are fundraisers.

Fundraising doesn’t happen without fundraisers.

As much as fundraising might seem like a big playbook of strategies that generate a mass of tactics, that’s not even half the story.

Fundraising flows from the hearts and minds of human beings. And if you’re one of those human beings, and you want to maximize your success, you need to work on yourself as much as on the strategies and tactics of fundraising.

That’s why I appreciate Rhea Wong’s book. It’s not really a book about fundraising tactics – though there are a lot of useful tactics in it – it’s about building the attitudes of fundraisers like you and me, so we can do our best and bring tactics to life.

Here’s the core message:

80% of your fundraising success is based on your mindset. The other 20% is dependent on your tactics…. Strategies and tactics will change over time, but when you have a deep and unshakeable belief in the bounty of the world and your personal power to make results happen, you will be unstoppable.Rhea Wan

This isn’t a sit-in-a-chair-and-read book. It’s a workbook, with quizzes, prompts to respond to, and other ways to help you work on yourself. It asks you to think hard about things you may not have thought much about.

Here are the nine keys the book helps you tackle:

  • Money mindset. “It is nearly impossible to separate your mindset about money from your relationship with fundraising.”
  • Storytelling. “Great storytelling allows strangers to empathize with your cause because it triggers the human instinct for empathy. Simply, someone can’t care about something until they know why the narrator cares about it.”
  • Messaging. “Nonprofits’ messaging suffers because of one reason: They spend too much time talking about the HOW of what they do and not enough about their WHY.”
  • Market. “When you understand who your donors are, you can craft a marketing campaign that stimulates them. When they see your campaign, they will shout, “Yes! That’s exactly me!”
  • Methodology. “Having processes will empower you to work ON the business, not IN the business.”
  • Management. “You can’t be successful … by getting frustrated with your board. While you can coach them, retrain them, replace them – they’re part of the package of working in a high-level position at a nonprofit.”
  • Major Donor Ask. “The ability to raise money is about listening and aligning yourself with donors’ values and positioning your organization as the answer to fulfilling them.”
  • Jeffersonian Dinner. This is a specific type of gathering for prospective donors, designed to get people thinking about your cause and opening the doors to actual asking. Rhea shows you how to put one of these together.
  • Fundraising in an Emergency. Thoughts about maximizing your fundraising when things are especially difficult.

The book is especially aimed at leaders of small or new nonprofits, those where a lot is riding on the shoulders of one person. But I’d recommend it for anyone in fundraising who would like to be more comfortable, fluent, and confident in fundraising.

It could really help you turn things around!

Connect with other fundraisers who are facing the same challenges you face. Join The Fundraisingology Lab by Moceanic. You’ll get the tools, the information, and the supporting community that will take you to new places in your fundraising career. Join the waiting list now and you’ll be the first to hear when the doors open again!

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