It takes a certain mindset to raise a mountain of money.

The saying, “if you think you can, you can,” rings true.

Your Mindset About Raising Money is Everything

If you believe you can’t raise money, then you won’t. Your beliefs dictate your actions. If you believe fundraising is hard, there’s really no need to call donors or make much of an effort. After all, they probably won’t give anyway. So why bother?

On the other hand, if you believe you can raise a lot, then you’ll do anything it takes to accomplish your goal. That’s what’s called a fundraising mindset. It’s where optimism meets action.

3 Beliefs to Achieve a Fundraising Mindset

So how can you truly adopt a winning mindset when it comes to raising money? Well, here are three mantras to help you get there…

  1. Giving feels good.
    Donors benefit from giving. They feel good about themselves. When fundraising is done right, you’re not twisting arms or picking pockets. When you come to believe fundraising can be a positive experience for donors, you won’t hesitate to provide opportunities for donors to support your important work.
  2. If you build it, they will come.
    When you have a big vision for your organization, it will attract donors who want to be part of something amazing. Small dreams attract small donors. Big dreams attract big donors.
  3. Success begets success.
    Vicious cycle and downward spiral, or just the opposite? What’s the mindset of your nonprofit leaders and donors?

Remember — if you think you can, you can.

Another Kind of Mindset: A Campaign Mindset

At the Toolkit, we use the acronym ABC — Always Be Campaigning.

In fact, one of our members of the Capital Campaign Toolkit for Consultants, Derry Deringer, refers to this way of thinking as the Campaign Mindset.

The Campaign Mindset is the idea of looking at your entire development program as though it were a big, unending campaign. That means using a gift range chart as the primary tool for planning your entire fundraising program, rather than looking at it in terms of silos.

A Gift Range Chart for Your Entire Fundraising Year

In most annual fundraising, people plan each of the types of fundraising as though they were independent — golf tournament, fall solicitation, spring solicitation, big gala, etc. But when the planning for each is separate, you lose sight of what’s most important (more on that in a bit).

With a Campaign Mindset, you create a gift range chart for your entire fundraising for that year. Then you create a depth chart (to identify potential donors for each gift you need). And for every donor, you create a plan about how and when and for what you will solicit them.

From Top-Down and Inside-Out

When using the Campaign Mindset, you go from the top down and inside out. That means you solicit the biggest gifts first, as well as gifts from those who are closest to your organization. You go DOWN (to smaller gifts) and OUT (to those not as close to your organization) from there.

You can meet with your top donors and discuss the various ways in which they want to participate over the year, setting fundraising levels with them that includes all of the activities.

THAT’s the true Campaign Mindset — you still do all of the things you normally do, but the primary focus is on your donors, not fundraising type.

Adopting the Campaign Mindset: Always Be Campaigning

If you really want to raise more money this year, next year, and well into the future, the Campaign Mindset is your best friend. You’ll shift your perspective in a way that keeps the focus on your donors — where it belongs.

Think of it in terms of not just scaling one mountain, but scaling an entire mountain range with campaigns of all different shapes and sizes:

Campaign Mindset - Always Be Campaigning

And while you’re cresting the top of each mountain, you can easily see the next peak. In other words, you’re always planning ahead and sticking to a safe, optimal path.

Now that’s smarter fundraising.

How to Adopt the Campaign Mindset

If the Campaign Mindset and the notion of keeping the focus on your donors sounds intriguing, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, our experts can help you get moving in the right direction.

Sign up for a free strategy session and you’ll speak with one of our campaign specialists about how you can adopt the Campaign Mindset for your nonprofit and raise more money than you ever thought possible.


  1. Timothy P. Snyder

    I like what you guys are saying and my career of experience illustrates many of your points and approaches.

    Would like to explore ways to partner in localized partnerships.

  2. Barbara Barron

    Love this one! Thanks for the Tuesday morning boost!


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