Chasing Money Can Kill Your Fundraising

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

An overemphasis on money will hurt you.

Imagine yourself leading a dream organization where you have a billion-dollar budget. Resources flow like water, and everything you want to do is funded par excellence. You cannot fail, right? You cannot fail because your organization has all the money it needs!

Advertising is no issue because you have enough money to flood the nation with television ads in markets in every state. Billboards in expensive high-visibility locations fill the whole country. You even opt to place a $10 million ad during the Super Bowl!

Social media influencers are quick to speak on your behalf because you pay them! You have the money you need, so you offer $150 to any influencer who will post an image or video or still image with overlay text supporting your mission. You pay five hundred "deputy digital organizers" $2500 per month to promote you on their Instagram accounts.

And with all the money you need, you hire staff, right? LOTS of staff! Your mission matters, so you hire 2,400 staffers. How can you fail with all the help you need? YOU CANNOT FAIL, RIGHT?


With a billion-dollar budget, Michael Bloomberg's 2020 presidential campaign was just such an organization. There was the widespread and prevailing belief that they could not fail in their mission with his resources.

A dream organization, they spent more than all the other Democratic candidates still in the race combined. Money would not stand in their way. Theirs "was one of the greatest single campaigns in American history." Yet, for all their spending, they failed miserably.

Before dropping out of the race, Bloomberg won one primary: American Samoa.

Michael Bloomberg's campaign exhibited an overconfidence in money alone.

Organizations get sidetracked when there is an overemphasis on getting the money they need.

Fundraising gold nugget: Thinking that money is the answer will kill your mission.

"Money will not automatically start a movement. Transformation can't be bought. Movements have begun without a penny being spent." - John Maxwell

One of my favorite Proverbs talks about this.

"Don't exhaust yourself acquiring wealth; be smart enough to stop. When you fix your gaze on it, it's gone, for it sprouts wings for itself and flies to the sky like an eagle." Proverbs of Solomon, 23:4-5

The writer compares chasing money to the futility of chasing birds. Like birds, money seems to have wings. The more you chase it, the more it flies away!

You don't chase birds; you attract them.

Fundraising gold nugget: Focusing on getting money rather than attracting it will kill your fundraising.

So then, what attracts money?

A Compelling Vision

We attract money by addressing injustices, solving overlooked problems, meeting challenging needs, and seizing opportunities. The hopeful future we create in our followers' minds through our service is called our VISION.

Your vision is what would happen if everything you do works. I know this is confusing to so many, but what you DO is not your vision. What you PRODUCE is your vision. (I offer a free resource for a deeper dive, CLICK HERE).

Why does vision matter so much? Because visionaries ALWAYS get more money than missionaries (READ MORE HERE)

A Passionate Team

Executive directors and fundraisers all over the world try to fundraise on their own.

IF your mission has any chance for success, your board must give their approval, voice, involvement, and influence to your efforts. "No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you're playing a solo game, you will always lose out to a team." (The Startup Of You)

Tom Patterson says that "If I have one good idea, and you have one good idea, how many good ideas do each of us have? One. Now, if I share my idea with you and you share yours with me, how many does each one now have? Two!"

A passionate team multiplies your power. I have found that the more I develop my team members, the more passionate they are for our mission. Find ways to help and enhance your team members. Include them in your decision-making process. Lighting their candle never diminishes your own!

An unengaged board will kill your fundraising. Enough said.

The Right Stories

Nothing does more to enhance your mission than telling the right stories at the right time. Stories are a wonderful way to allow other people to brag on you and your mission ( are not bragging on yourself and your organization are you?).

Can you handle another proverb? "Let someone else honor you for your accomplishments, for self-praise is never appropriate" (Proverbs 27:2 TPT ). Instead of you talking about your mission, GET OTHERS TO DO IT.

Document the stories of the people whose lives have been changed from your mission. Help them tell their story. Do the same for:

  • A volunteer

  • A donor

  • A legacy supporter

  • A monthly donor

  • An early adopter

  • A community influencer

Hope this helps you to get fully funded!


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