5 Factors that Contribute to Fundraising Success

Nov 28, 2019Donors, Fundraising, Fundraising Success, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Relationships

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There are 5 factors that contribute to fundraising success.

As fundraisers, how do you turn devastating news for a family into something positive and that brings hope for others?

That’s what happened with a family working with the staff of a nonprofit.

Devastating News

A family was devastated when their son was diagnosed with a terminal disease. They were told by the physicians that he had a short time to live.

The cancer was rare. Therefore, little research had been conducted for this particular disease.

Different from other cancers, this one offered less than a 1% survival rate.

Can you imagine hearing this news?

According to families in this situation, they want to do everything they can to help their loved one and change the statistics.

They want to prevent others from this terrible nightmare.

Without question, they want to help raise money for research that will eliminate this awful disease from the face of this earth.

That’s exactly what this one family focused on.

Planning with Nonprofit Staff

The family shared with the nonprofit staff their ideas to seek support from their group of friends.

The staff took the lead in organizing a private event.

The family immediately created the guest list. Without hesitation, a board member offered his stately home for the event. The family then invited 50 friends to join them one evening.

Once at the event, the chair of the cancer center spoke about the disease, the current research, and the clinical trials and successes.

Next, the son’s father addressed his friends. He spoke without hesitation but with an unsteady voice and said,

“We ask you to reach deep into your pockets and help us knock out this terrible disease. Research could very much save our son’s life. If not his, it can save countless other lives going forward. Our family would like to raise $1 million for this cause. And we have agreed to contribute $125,000 toward these efforts. Will you join me in supporting this campaign?”

What strong people.

This was personal to the family. They knew their son may not have a fighting chance. But they knew they could help others, and they desperately want to bring hope to others.

Over $1 million was raised that evening.

Why Successful:

There are 5 key factors that contribute to fundraising success. Certainly, these were a part of this campaign.

#1 Passion

The family is passionate and committed to the cause. They took the initiative and were driven to help their son and help others.

#2 Personal Story

There is a personal story here. And the family shared their personal story with a group of their closest friends. This was real – they were living a nightmare. They wanted to do everything possible to stop this terrible disease and stop it from happening to other families in the future.

#3 Urgency

There was a sense of urgency. Hence, the family was in crisis and was pleading for help. They were not going to coward down and allow this disease to defeat them or others. There was a real sense of urgency.

#4 Relationships

Fundraising is about relationships. When we are in crisis, we need the support of others. We reach to our inner circle of friends.

With this family, they sought help from those who knew them and their son well.

People want to help but often don’t know how.

If we let people know how they can help, they will.

This family was surrounded by people who cared about them.

Their friends stepped up to provide emotional AND financial support.

#5 Ask

People are asked to help. When we need help, we ask. Asking for financial support is similar to asking someone to help in other ways. Maybe to sit with us at the hospital, for example, while a family member is in surgery.

Asking for help is not twisting someone’s arm or a sign of weakness. When we need help, we ask.

The family and the nonprofit set and shared their goal of raising $1 million.

They met that goal.

Nonprofit's Role

Nonprofit leaders, you are the conduit between those in need and those with the means to make a difference. You have a very important role to play.

When a family is devastated by cancer, a tornado, a financial crisis, for example, we as nonprofit leaders step in and make things happen. We can change the trajectory of the lives of those in need.

It is our charge to know what families and donors want, desire, and need.


These are 5 factors that contribute to fundraising success. Here, $1 million was raised because of the relationships with the family, the urgency to find a cure, and people were asked. People support a cause because they are personally connected to the need or problem.

Without question, fundraising is about listening, developing a plan, and taking action.

Our role as nonprofit leaders is to answer the call.

My goal as a fundraising coach is to make sure you are successful! You can double your fundraising results!

Start by focusing on these five factors in fundraising success.

Listen, plan, and act.

If you don’t have a fundraising plan, I have the template for you!

Go here to grab your fundraising plan template.

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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