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Essential Principles for Fundraising Success

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Essential Principles for Fundraising Success

An Answer Manual for Everyday Challenges of Raising Money


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Asking people for money is hard, even for a great cause. Let this practical approach to fundraising make it much easier.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


The quest for funding is a high-pressure, never-ending process for nonprofit organizations large and small. Authors G. Douglass Alexander and Kristina J. Carlson break the process down into manageable pieces while covering each major avenue that fundraising professionals travel in the search for financial support. The authors use a question and answer format to explain and illustrate the premise outlined at the beginning of every chapter. Packed with useful, applicable information from cover to cover, this book deals with a range of topics including the basic principles of fundraising, annual and capital campaigns, special events, major gifts, foundation funding and stewardship. Such a comprehensive, well-organized analysis of any one subject is rare. strongly recommends this book as a primer for any individual or group seeking guidance for a strategic approach to raising funds.


The Tried and True Principles of Fundraising

Certain tested fundraising principles have proven effective time after time. Use the following nine principles as the framework for all your fundraising efforts:

  1. "Face-to-face solicitation is the most effective way to raise funds."
  2. "Individual giving, not corporate and foundation support, offers the greatest fundraising potential."
  3. "Money follows involvement."
  4. "Challenge gifts can solve most fundraising problems."
  5. "The board must lead for others to follow."
  6. "Make it personal."
  7. "Believe in volunteers."
  8. "Offer opportunities."
  9. "Practice sequential fundraising. Start at the top."

The Right Tools for the Job

To apply these basic principles successfully to your fundraising efforts, first educate and inform the other people in your organization. Develop several diagrams and tables that can serve as useful tools to help you communicate these basics. The first is a Range of Gifts table, which is a chart that shows the number of gifts your organization needs...

About the Authors

G. Douglass Alexander is president of an Atlanta-based consultancy. He has directed major capital and endowment campaigns for national nonprofit clients. He chairs a prospect research firm and, an Internet-based consultancy, where Kristina J. Carlson, CFRE, is president and manages the day-to-day operations.

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