Every nonprofit, whether they’re brand new and an established organization, has heard a wide variety of advice when it comes to fundraising. Whether seeking funds from private donors or larger foundations, nonprofit staff and board members have a lot to consider.

All of the information can be overwhelming, so we asked a variety of nonprofit experts, “What is the most important thing to remember when fundraising?


“I think it’s crucial for all of us in the nonprofit world to remember that when we’re fundraising, we’re not simply asking for money to support our work or our organization. Instead, we are asking people to invest in their community and offering them an opportunity to direct that investment to something meaningful and impactful for them as a member of that community.”
John Moriarty, Senior Program Officer, Oregon Community Foundation

“Have a fundraising and gift-acceptance policy, and review it and keep it in mind whenever anyone offers you anything other than straight cash or check with no strings attached. Lots of people try to solve their problems by disguising them as ‘donations’ to trusting nonprofits, who wind up saddled with liabilities instead of assets.”
John Gear, Attorney, John Gear Law Office LLC

“Your story is everything. People give when they FEEL impact. Identify ways to bring your story and the stories of those you serve to life, show how the work of your organization is changing lives for the better. Organizations that create this sort of tangible connection between their supporter and their positive outcomes are the groups that thrive.”
Colby Reade, Director of Communications, The MJ Murdock Charitable Trust

“Your current donors are the best place to look when facing increased fundraising goals.”
Dianne Alves, Consultant and Trainer, Fresh Take Consulting, LLC

“Have you done the preparation steps: Identified your donors (specifically not generally), educated them about your organization, and cultivated their interest.”
Linda Golaszewski, Program Manager Nonprofit Programs, Portland State University

“There are a few:
Involve your Board;
Be very clear about your organization’s goals and mission/avoid ambiguity;
Know exactly what funders and donors will support – don’t assume anything;
Continually track expenses and other donations for each project and be prepared to submit reports to private funders if requested, and especially for grants as required;
Adhere to grant deadlines;
Write timely Thank You letters to everyone.”
Pam Cooper, Freelance Grants Administrator


If you’re looking for even more fundraising tips, many of today’s respondents will be teaching sessions at our Guiding More Good conference. The conference will host a Funders Forum panel as well, where funders from across the state will sit on a panel and introduce themselves and discuss their requirements, timelines, and priorities. After the panel, there will be a time for questions from attendees. We hope to see you there!