First 100 Days of 2017: The Biggest Lessons Learned

What are the big lessons of the first 100 days of the year? I get to meet hundreds of Catholics each month who are doing incredible projects. Whether it’s starting a new charity or expanding one, Catholics are working hard in the vineyard to bring Christ to the world.

As a fundraiser dedicated to helping them achieve their goals, particularly the financial ones, I am privileged to learn what works best in getting people to donate.


I also get to see what doesn’t work. Not all the Catholics I meet have success when fundraising, unfortunately. They start out strong but then lose steam. Today, I want to talk about the three biggest lessons I have learned this year from the Catholics who are succeeding in fundraising.

The lessons I’ve learned in the first 100 Days of 2017 have been so valuable to me that I thought it would be cool to open up my notebook to you and shared these big lessons.

The Three Big Lessons of Fundraising in 2017

If you’d like to be a better fundraiser (or even if you’re just curious to learn what makes a success Catholic appeal or campaign), you will gain a lot from these insights.

Lesson 1: Be Disciplined

When fundraising for an exciting Catholic project, you can often think that the applause you get from friends, family members, and other Catholics will turn into financial support. These accolades rarely convert into donations. That’s why you must be disciplined in your fundraising.

To do so, I recommend you set a time in your diary each day to reach out to people, communicate your message, connect with them, and from time to time, ask. If you don’t lock time in your diary to do so, you will forget, and as a result, nothing will happen.

I offer a guide, How to Fundraise in 10 Easy Steps, which will help you structure your fundraising.

Lesson 2: Simplify your Fundraising

I have found that Catholics are most successful with fundraising when they simplify their approach. Meaning, they break down their fundraising into small, simple steps, and move forward one step at a time.

The steps are as followed. They learn how to fundraise correctly, allowing them to move forward not based on assumptions. Then, they start doing consistently, as I mentioned in lesson one. The third step is they learn to master fundraising. They never stay complacent with doing the same thing year after year. They always look to be better because they know this will make fundraising easier and more successful.

To learn how to master fundraising, I recommend subscribing to my website if you are not already. Each week, I dive into a different topic, offering you the best of what is working.

Lesson 3: Be Organized with Donor Data

The third lesson comes from a religious sister who is responsible for the fundraising of a prominent Catholic school in the United States. (She also graduated from Harvard.)

You must get your donor data in order. Also, you should use a user-friendly donor management system, as soon as possible. Along with this, you must get your processes in order. This includes donor acknowledgments, grant calendars, and appeals. If you have reliable processes in place, things will go smoothly whether you have 100 or 100,000 donors to manage.

I offer a structured approach for doing this which follows the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You will find the references make everything much easier.

What is the biggest lesson you learned this year about fundraising?


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