Fundraising Quotes to Live By

For those of you that have seen my presentation “From Bake Sales to Philanthropy” know that I like using quotes. Quotes from the Bible, from Martin Luther and other theologians, from other fundraising professionals, even from political figures and celebrities.

Quotes have a way of “personalizing” a concept. I just recently was in a meeting where a long-time fundraising peer of mine noted that “most organizations hire a development person in a drought, and then expect them to make it rain in three days.” Powerful stuff!

I recently found a listing of great fundraising quotes from Jerold “Jerry” Panas.  Mr. Panas is Executive Partner of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners—one of the nation’s most highly regarded firms in the field of fundraising and board development with over 3,500 past clients since its founding in 1968. A frequent speaker, Mr. Panas is also a regular contributor to professional journals and his books are considered the foundation for study. There are few who have had a greater influence in the history of the profession, and there is no wonder why he is considered “the godfather” of fundraising.

Below is the list of some of his best quotes; enjoy!

  • Individuals contribute approximately 90 percent of all philanthropy, year in and year out, through gifts and bequests. It doesn’t come from foundations or corporations.
  • The 80-20 Rule doesn’t work now. It’s closer to 90 percent of the money comes from 4 to 5 percent of the donors.
  • People don’t give money because they should. They give money because you asked.
  • People don’t want to give money away. They want to invest in bold, exciting, and inspiring ventures.
  • Donors give to exciting and audacious dreams.
  • Donors give to change lives and save lives.
  • A donor wants to know: Why should I give to this organization? Why this project? Why now? Why me?
  • More than ever before, donors want to know the results of their investment.
  • You should ask for a specific amount, not a range.
  • Averaging what a group of people will give is a guaranteed way to fail. (If 500 alumni gave us $1,000 each …)
  • If you have three to four passionate and committed fundraising volunteers, you are luckier than most.
  • No organization will rise above the strength and commitment of its board.
  • It often takes a long period of cultivation. You don’t make a pickle by sprinkling a little vinegar over it. You have to immerse it.