It is the best of times for fundraising. It is the worst of times for fundraising.

That’s not a direct quote from Dickens, but I’m sure that’s what he meant. When it comes to fundraising, there’s more opportunity than every before and it’s tougher than ever to lead people to action.

I want to share two important principles to help you navigate this paradox.  Here’s the first one.

People give to people.

In 2014, Americans gave more than $358 billion to charity. This is a 7.1% increase from 2013. And it’s an increase for the 7th year in a row.

It turns out, people are giving away more money than ever.

But here’s what’s truly interesting about this statistic: 75% of donations come from individuals.

Not government grants. Not foundations or endowments.


Just like you and me.

Grants are great, but most of your support is going to come from people.  Foundations are incredible, most the majority of your funding will come from individuals. People give to people.

In your fundraising approach, don’t only pursue the silver bullet organization who can meet all of your needs. Instead, foster conversations with real people who can get involved in your ministry.

Now here’s the second principle.

People give to people.

Wait a minute.  Isn’t that the same as the first principle?  It sure is, but I’m underlining a different word.

People give to people.

When people make contributions, they don’t look for organizations or even causes.  They look for people they know, trust, or respect. They might support a cause, but they do it because a real person asks.

At it’s core, fundraising is about a person talking to another person. Even when organizations and foundations are involved, it’s people that make the decision.

Your cause might be compelling, but it’s no longer enough to have a great organization.  Somebody is going to have to ask somebody to give.  A real person must engage the heart and mind of another real person and ask for support.

So whether you have nothing before you or everything before you and whether you’re living in the season of financial darkness or the spring of generous hope, I hope this simple fundraising approach encourages you today.

People give to people.


Jon Bennett
Ministry Ventures

P.S. You can read my personal fundraising journey is my short ebook titled Fundraising – From Misery to Ministry

While fundraising is critical to the success of your ministry, it isn’t the only area you have to focus on. Ministry Ventures loves coaching leaders in a holistic process through the Five Best Practices of faith based non-profit leadership.  Hear what clients are saying about their return on investment in our flexible and affordable coaching programs for ministry leaders.