When the How-tos Aren’t Enough to Fix Your Fundraising

Think about it for a second. So many fundraisers, board members, executive directors, and others who need to be involved in fundraising in one way or another have attended trainings, gone to conferences, read books, and taken courses aimed at teaching them about fundraising.

But then what?

They still aren’t making their calls, reaching out to their prospects, or bringing in as much money as you think they should be.

So what is going on?

We all know that. We all know how to lose weight (eat less, move your body more) but we still don’t do it. Or do it consistently.

After consulting, coaching and teaching thousands of people how to be high impact fundraisers, here’s what I’ve learned:

You have to solve the right problem behind why people aren’t fundraising.

You have to ask yourself

Because depending on which kind of problem it is, your approach to solving it will be radically different.  

If you try and solve a “I don’t want to do it” kind of problem with a “I don’t know how to do it” solution (which is what we typically do with fundraising) all we get is well-informed, still unmotivated people.

I’ve seen it time and time again, when organizations only focus on developing fundraising plans and skills, they stay stuck. It’s only when organizations also dig into what’s preventing people from wanting to fundraise and help them understand why it’s important to do in the first place that you really get traction.

80% of the problems around fundraising are in “I don’t want to do it” and the “I don’t know why I have to do it” categories. And this goes for seasoned fundraisers and new deans, executive directors, and others alike.

So before you invest more time in teaching people about fundraising and how to do it better, make sure that’s the right problem needing to be solved. You do that by asking the right question: what kind of problem is this?

Once you identify what is really going on, you’re already more than half way to designing a solution that will actually work.

Amy Varga

Amy Varga


Amy Varga is a beloved fundraising trainer, coach and consultant. She and her team at The Varga Group have guided over a hundred nonprofit clients to raise millions of dollars through their services in capital campaign counsel, major gifts training, leadership coaching, and board development projects.