KB’s Top 5 Fundraising Mantras: #3 – There is No Magic Fix

Today I continue to count down my top five fundraising “mantras,” highlighting the five tips that I find absolutely essential to fundraising success.  While working with candidates and fundraising staffs, I often find myself repeating these five tips so often that they have become ‘mantra’-like. Though there are certainly many tips that are important to remember, these are the few I find myself accentuating most frequently.

(In case you missed it, check out last week’s #4 – Details = Dollars.) 

#3 – There’s no Magic Fix… so stop looking.

AKA: There’s No Substitute for Phone Calls



PhoneCalls, 101

There’s a lot in this world I don’t know.

I don’t know, for instance, the first 10 digits of PI.

I don’t know what year Millard Fillmore was born. I don’t know much about lacrosse (wait, they use those stick things?), or string theory, or the migrating patterns of Canadian geese. And I certainly don’t know why THIS video of a cat fighting with a watermelon has over 12 million views.

However, I know this for sure:

At some point in every candidate’s fundraising journey, they will turn to their fundraiser, campaign manager, or finance staffer and say …. “Why don’t we just send a fundraising email?” or “I have an idea! Let’s do a mailer!”

Inevitably every candidate will look for a way out — a magic fix — a solution to their fundraising problems that will instantly free them of the horrendous burden that this awful phone call nonsense will inflict on them.

These candidates are usually just getting into the hard work of fundraising and think that maybe there’s an easier way than making so many pesky phone calls.

Here’s the truth: There is no substitute for phone calls. There is no magic fix for fundraising.

From Day 1 to Day 1,000 of your campaign, you will need to make calls to raise money.


Now, before I get a bunch of angry emails and tweets from direct mail and email vendors… hear me out. Email and mail solicitation are both great supplements to any successful fundraising strategy.

However the core of any fundraising plan starts with The Ask. And there is no substitute for phone calls (or personal meetings) when it comes to making “The Ask.”

With the advent on online technology and surge in success of email fundraising, this endless quest for the “magic fix” has intensified. Its human nature: we all put off doing the thing that is the ‘least fun’ to do. And, for most candidates, that ‘least fun task’ is fundraising calls. However – there is no magic fix, so stop looking!

So, the next time you or your candidate find yourself reaching for any other option for fundraising… remember that there is NO magic fix.  Pick up the phone and dive back in – that next call could be your best call yet.

Oh, and about that cat….




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