The Root Cause Blog
12 Feb

Ten Rules to Fundraise By

Fundraising is the life-line of every nonprofit. Almost every organization Root Cause has worked with through the Peer Performance Exchange wants to improve its financial sustainability. To support these organization, our team has curated a variety of resources – one of my favorites is a short paper by Susan Black called Ten Rules to Fundraise By.

Below are Susan’s ten rules. Does your organization know and practice these rules?

  1. People give to people
  2. Know your story then articulate your story
  3. Have a plan
  4. Get out of the office!
  5. Identify, cultivate, ask and thank . . . then do it again!
  6. “Remember you are brilliant!”
  7. Your only job with volunteers is to make them successful
  8. “If it’s not in the database, it didn’t happen”
  9. It’s not about you, it’s about the donor
  10. Measure it!

At Root Cause, we often see organizations struggle with Rule #3: Have a plan. This is a double-barreled rule.

  • First you need the plan to guide the organization to reach its goals. Root Cause has a business planning book that can help you with the organizational planning part.
  • Second you need the fundraising plan to support the organization’s plans. And this article from the Association of Fundraising Professionals can help you to get started with the fundraising plan.

Susan writes, “Without a strategic plan, an organization is lost and without a fundraising plan to coincide with it, an organization’s fundraising efforts are lost.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Root Cause, please contact Anne Radday at or 617-649-1536.