Learning to Fundraise without Fear

 Here is a link to watch my online episode from Chris Davenport’s Movie Mondays. 

They are GREAT! Subscribe to his training videos every Monday for free.

From Chris Davenport (filmmaker extraordinaire– he totally rules.)

Are you new to fundraising, or having a hard time raising money?

In today’s episode, Shana Pennington-Baird talks about how she first learned how to fundraise. She talks about how by learning and following the steps that other fundraisers have taken, you too can raise money with greater ease.

Shana is the Development Director for Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. I met her when she came up to me at a conference to tell me how she had raised twice as much money with her campaign. It turns out that she had purchased “100 Donors in 90 Days” from me. And with the very first interview and action guide, she was able to double the donations that came in. You can hear her tell the story by going here: 100 Donors story


If you would like a copy of my VERY simple GANTT chart that I talk about in the video, you can download by clicking the link below.


It’s a very easy to use excel spreadsheet with movable arrows.  Monkeys could use it.  And if you need more help:

So.. why am I doing this? First irreverent thoughts…

I did not start out raising money.  In fact I am an expert at spending it.  Personally, professionally, other people’s money… I excel.  And after twenty years working in and around the non-profit sector as an actor, concert promoter, venue manager, volunteer coordinator, education director, curriculum developer, director, teacher…. there’s more…. oh… and most recently, and importantly… Development Director.  I raise money for a living.  And I like it.

I remember, in previous jobs where artistic programming was my focus, that I just needed one of those…  what do they call them… oh…development people… they developed…or something… they waived magic wands and money appeared for my programs.  Right?  I should just hire one of those.  Hmm… I also followed the “I’ll fundraise on Friday method.”  This ensured that I never, ever got around to it.  Grants… they could wait.  Sponsorship.  It just wasn’t a priority.  And worse.  I had no training.

So, when I left a job I loved very much (bad breakup– counseling was required) I decided I needed to learn to raise money.  I had a bunch of rebound jobs following that experience.  I had no idea that your could suffer heart break professionally, but you can.  And there is light on the other side.

Now, many years later, I had this crazy thought.  What if someone just needed a hand to hold while they achieved their development goals.  And why not?

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER!  I AM NO EXPERT.  In fact, some days, I really wonder how I do anything.  Have I mentioned I work full-time and have a three year old?

So, read on, if you dare.  Just know I can provide a hand.  And MAYBE, something that might help.

Step 1.  Do what others do.  Seriously.  Get a book.  Get three.  Oh… read them.

Step 2.  One week class in San Francisco with the Foundation Center.  Seriously.  And that’s when I turned the corner.

Step 3.  End up in charge of raising $900K of a $6 million dollar budget.  Find out the goals are INSANE.  Find out that no matter how hard you try, you are SCREWED.  Leave job.  But not before gaining a million great skills and friends for life.

Step 4:  Do what others do.  Read their blogs.  And stop being afraid.  After all, you are not alone and I have extended a hand.

Step 5:  Get a great job at a non-profit with realistic goals.  Or change how you think about your current position. I’ll post a lot more about this.  But know it can be done.

More soon.  Please leave comments.  I hope to create a small, but crazy community here.  See you on the flip side.  Of something….