You Think Like a Fundraiser When...

When I sit in a meeting with nonprofit executives and volunteers – especially new clients or potential clients – I realize that I often “apologize” for thinking like a fundraiser.  I also realize that at some point during my 30 year career in grant writing and fundraising, it stopped being a job and started to be my vocation – a part of who I am.


So how do you know if you think like a fundraiser? I came up with the following 10 reasons.

  1. You stop to read the donor wall wherever you go. If you are somewhere local, you take down names; on vacation, and you note the layout and design

  2. You have more than one picture of a donor wall on your phone

  3. In casual conversations, you make mental notes of the interests and relationships of the person you are talking to or about

  4. You actually read solicitation letters – word for word – because you might find an idea to use in your next letter!

  5. You actually talk to phone solicitors when they call … all the way through to the third ask

  6. You read the obituaries to see what planned gifts have matured … and which opportunities got away

  7. As you hear about a new program at a local nonprofit organization, you immediately start to make a mental list of people, companies and foundations who might have an interest in supporting it

  8. When you meet an interesting new person, you start to think of whether or not this person would make a good volunteer for your organization. And then ask them!

  9. You pay attention to the details of who knows who, who married (or divorced) who, who had recent successes and who had a recent set back

  10. You always try to find a way to make the world a better place and to secure the resources to make it happen

 What do you have to add to the list?