How-To Kick It As A Fundraiser For Fun And Profit

One million U.S. nonprofits compete for the $300 million annually donated to charity. Historically, most of the money goes to religious and educational institutions. Is your social enterprise, your vision for a decent world, getting funded?

Like every successful social entrepreneur I know, John Anner, Executive Director of the East Meets West Foundation, tackles the money challenge with unrestrained glee and gusto. For him raising money "is a multidimensional chess game" - a game he has made fascinating and fun.

Discover his no-nonsense tips and practical insights on how to go about winning the dollars your cause needs:

My four favorite, and the most useful, Anner tips for getting it done:

  • "There are only two kinds of people on your donor list: people who give you money and useless people."
  • "Persistence over time matters."
  • "I pay attention to what funders do, not what they say."
  • "Imagine different audiences. How do you explain your cause to your mother, the head of Ford Foundation, a group of students, etc.?"

Get good at money-raising. One, your cause deserves it. Two, fundraisers have lifetime employment in the social sector. They are the lynchpins and backbone of social change.

"A good fundraiser is just as smart and savvy and capable and strategic as non-fundraisers. Indeed...[I was frustrated] to see that the nonprofit world sidelined fundraisers and fundraising -- and then wondered why it was so hard to scale things that work," writes Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer at the Acumen Fund, and a first-rate blogger.

Let's remember the important and fundamental ways in which social entrepreneurs, artists and politicians are similar:

  • Like the artist, politicians and social entrepreneurs sculpt a new and ennobling reality for us to hold close.
  • Like the politician, artists and social entrepreneurs must implement their plans if they are ever to really matter.
  • Like the social entrepreneur, the best politicians and greatest artists make change with their head, their hearts and their hands.

Nothing is more real, basic or indispensable than assembling the money necessary to finance a political campaign, support an artistic endeavor or fund a social enterprise. Fundraising is social change, politics and artistry all wrapped up in one single challenging, exhilarating rush.