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Last updated November 22, 2014

Whether you’ve been fundraising for 2 years or 20 years, it’s easy to feel like your fundraising efforts are stuck in a rut. Even worse, sometimes it’s more than a feeling – sometimes your fundraising IS stuck in a rut.

If you’re doing the same old events, sending the same old donor letters and having the same old conversations, then chances are you’re getting the same old results. While those results might be okay for now, waning enthusiasm soon brings a waning cash-flow. Feeling stuck eventually leads to being stuck and no organisation wants that.

If you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about your fundraising activities, then it might be time to reinvigorate yourself and your fundraising efforts. Here are our Top 10 ideas for getting out of a fundraising rut.

1. Make your ‘perfect world’ list.
Before you start work for the week, make a list of all the fundraising activities or programmes you would like to have ‘in a perfect world’. Perhaps you would like an up-to-date website with the facility for people to make a donation online? Maybe you want a family of corporate sponsors looking after your primary programme? Once your list is complete, choose one initiative to put into action and ‘just do it’. Most things are easier to implement than you think – deciding to take action is the hardest part.

2. Join a new networking group.
It’s easy to work comfortably in your own little circles, but if you’re feeling stuck it’s a good idea to step out of your comfort zone and meet some new people. Join a business networking group and get to know potential sponsors, or start attending a new network for non-profits in your area. You never know who you might meet and where that new connection will take you.

3. Take some of your smallest donors out for lunch.
Most organisations spend a lot of time and effort acknowledging supporters who give large sums of money, but so often the small, regular donors get overlooked. Make a date with some of your smallest donors and take them out for lunch one-on-one. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple coffee and bread roll is enough to say ‘you are appreciated’. Avoid the temptation to ask for anything, and instead make the date all about getting to know them more. Your donor will feel appreciated and you will be reminded why your organisation is so important to others.

4. Sit in on one of your programmes.
Often when you’re sitting in an office all day, it’s easy to forget what you’re there for. Take some time out to visit one of your programmes in action or talk to some of the people who benefit from your service. Hearing first-hand how your organisation makes a difference is a sure-fire way to reignite your passion for fundraising.

5. Imagine you’ve lost your memory.
So many times we do things a certain way, because that’s the way it has always been done. For one week, imagine you have lost your memory and give yourself the opportunity to do things from a blank canvas. How would you construct your newsletter if you were starting from scratch? What would your website look like if you were to start building it now? What event would be a great fundraiser for your cause?

6. Set weekly goals.
For as long as your organisation exists, you will need to fundraise – so it’s no wonder it feels like a never-ending task. It is! By setting weekly goals you get a sense completion and achievement. Both of which are necessary if you want to stay motivated.

7. Pick up the phone.
Fundraising can be a lonely job and it’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected, especially if most of your communication is via email. Next time you go to send a message online, STOP and pick up the phone. New ideas come from real conversations.

8. Shoulder-tap your peers.
Take a look around your community and identify one or two organisations that are fundraising really well. Get on the phone, congratulate them on their success and ask if you can take them out to lunch with a view to ‘picking their brains’. Truly successful organisations are not threatened by sharing their knowledge and will happily discuss what has worked for them.

9. Attend some training.
When you’ve been fundraising for a long time it’s easy to think that you know it all. Possibly you do, but the reality is you don’t know what you don’t know. In our Exult workshops we guarantee that you will learn something new, and sometimes it’s just one thing that makes all the difference.

10. Brainstorm with your staff, volunteers and board
It’s difficult to constantly keep your fundraising fresh if you’re the only one coming up with the ideas. Get together with your whole team and spend an afternoon brainstorming possibilities.

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