The Big! Revolutionary! 100% Guaranteed! Transformational! Way to Raise Big Bucks.

by Kerry Burke on July 6, 2011

Who, me? I think you mean the other Big Buck.

Did I pique your curiosity? Good, that’s what that headline was meant to do. Hopefully you are reading this because you saw this title and thought to yourself “wow, I sure could use a fool-proof way to raise big bucks.”

But before I get to the *secret,* I want to ask you a question. How many times have you seen a title of an article or blog post that has promised a BIG! REVOLUTIONARY! 100% GUARANTEED! TRANSFORMATIONAL!  solution to raising big bucks?

And you quickly abort whatever task you were doing and immediately click on said title, only to read the article/post/newsletter, eagerly awaiting the BIG REVOLUNTIONARY 100% GUARANTEED TRANSFORMATIONAL WAY TO RAISE BIG BUCKS, only to find that the article doesn’t give you what you thought you were going to get.

You, the busy person that you are, take time to learn from this article exactly what you need to do to raise big bucks, because let’s face it – we need money, we need it now. We need big money, we need it now. We need transformational money, we need it now. I know.

Bummer that you just wasted 7 minutes reading this slop that doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know, or haven’t already thought of, or haven’t tried. Bummer that you aborted the task you were doing to read this, and now – dammit – you can’t remember what you were doing before.

We all want the BIG! REVOLUNTIONARY!… (blah blah, you get it). And I’m here to tell you the secret:

To raise B!R!100%G!T! bucks, you need to meet your donors. Face to face, in person, mano a mano. For breakfast, coffee, lunch or dinner. There is no way around it. You need to meet them, and I know that sounds entirely simple: Kerry. You just duped me. I just wasted 7 minutes reading this slop and you didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know/thought of/tried.

But when was the last time you met with a donor? Just you and them, to thank them for their support? If the answer is “yesterday, the day before, all the tiiiiiiime, Kerry…” then you are free to stop reading and get back to your task at hand. But if you haven’t met with a donor in the last two weeks, you are lagging. And I would feel okay with telling you that you have lost your focus.


It’s a bold statement. But this is the one and only way to raise the B!R!100%G!T! bucks. And if you have anything at all to do with raising money for an organization, then buck up, get on the horn, and set a meeting with a donor, dammit.

But… but… I’m afraid! I’m nervous! I’m no good at stuff like this! What will we talk about? They’ll resent me for calling. I’ll embarrass myself. They’ll say no. They’ll think I’m weird. They’ll think I’m crazy. They’ll tell all their friends that I called and they will all laugh at me! It will end up on Facebook! ARGH!!

Deep breath. Answer a few questions for me:

Do you net $10,000 from your annual event? $25,000? $50,000? $100,000???

*You can net that in one visit with a donor, over lunch. On your first try.

Do you net $150,000? $200,000? $250,000 from your annual fund?

*You can net that over dinner, before dessert.

I will repeat my mantra: fundraising is a HUMAN endeavor. So, let’s inject some humanity into our efforts, shall we?

Okayokayokayokay I’ll visit with my donors. But what do I say when I call? When should I call? Should I call them at the office, or at home? What if said donor is 109 years old and can’t hear on the phone? Should I leave a message if I get voicemail? What do I say if they say NO???? GASP!

Be still, grasshopper. You will soon have all the answers to these questions, now go paint the fence.

Introducing “Do You Like Piña Coladas? Blind Dating for Today’s Fundraiser.” This is a multi-part series that I will be posting on our blog, chock-full of ideas, truisms, examples and heart-felt stories from the front lines of donor-centered fundraising. Be sure to tune in, it promises to be wildly entertaining, shedding an entirely different light on our beloved, age-old profession.

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