The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Master the ABCs of Fundraising

Pablo Picasso famously said one must “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Mastering the fundamentals of any field provides the foundation of success and creativity. You have to know how something works in order to go further and try something new. But where to begin? How do you learn what questions to ask when you don’t know what you don’t know?

Every great leader, artist, athlete, philosopher, and yes, fundraiser has struggled with that same question. As complex as the topic may be, the answer is always the same…begin at the beginning. Begin by mastering the fundamentals—the ABCs—of your chosen field.

Most of us don’t remember learning to read or write. But those fundamentals have become so ingrained in us that we no longer need to think about them. They are muscle memory. Because we mastered those fundamentals, we have gone on to read great novels (and maybe even write a few stories of our own).

Great fundraisers have a talent for matching an organization’s needs with a donor’s wants. They seem to offer donors the very thing they’ve been looking for all along. They are, as Picasso would say, an artist.

But they don’t have any magical powers or a greater understanding of the world. They took the time to learn the rules; to learn the ABCs of fundraising. Their comfort with the fundamentals allowed them to achieve new levels of success. And you can, too.

Whether you’ve been fundraising for years and are training a new staff member, or you’re just getting started with your first fundraising job, it never hurts to have a handy guide to refer to for those common (and not-so-common) fundraising terms.

Do you know your ABCs?

We’ll give you a preview. Here are a few of the definitions you’ll find in The ABCs of Fundraising. Which ones do you already know? Which are new to you?

#GivingTuesday: A global day of giving that falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and harnesses the power of social media, peer fundraising, and community. Many nonprofits launch their year-end fundraising campaigns on #GivingTuesday.

Householding: A method of linking and managing the database profiles/records of multiple people in one household (or company) to track individual giving history, interests, volunteer activity, and more.

Upgrade: The process of increasing a donor’s contribution level, achieved through relationship-building, cultivation, and stewardship. Can be a result of a donor making a larger one-time gift, becoming a recurring donor, or giving additional gifts throughout the year.

Wealth Screening: The process of researching and analyzing an individual donor’s or prospect’s giving capacity. Factors to consider include donations to other organizations, real estate ownership, stock holdings in public companies, and business affiliations.

Want more? Take a break and test your knowledge of these essential fundraising terms. Download The ABCs of Fundraising today.

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About This Blog

Amanda Khoury
Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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