How to Sell Your Boss on New Nonprofit Fundraising Methods

You’re working in a nonprofit because you want to make an impact. You’re not satisfied by staying with the status quo. Instead, you’re driven to make improvements in every aspect of your organization—so that you and your organization can deliver what’s needed for your cause. 

New Fundraising Methods

You’ve spotted one or more new fundraising methods that you feel can make a difference, perhaps a big difference. They could even be revolutionary.

Unfortunately, most nonprofits are not quite in the mode to revolutionize the way they do business. This is particularly true when it comes to their fundraising methodology. 

Tried and True—Innovation Needed as Well

If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that we feel there are definitely some tried and true methods that must be a part of your overall program. See our posts “10 Nonprofit Fundraising Best Practices” and “Five Proven Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations” as just two examples.

We’re particularly bullish on building a comprehensive fundraising strategy. But that shouldn’t exclude working with new methods that can reach new audiences and provide more opportunities. We also recognize that many organizations have yet to catch up with the latest in web-based fundraising and social media that we now take as a given. If that describes your organization, it can be a real opportunity (or perhaps better said, a real challenge) for your selling efforts.

Selling New Methods—Best Practices

With all that said, here are our thoughts on how to sell your boss on new methods in fundraising and in many other areas. 

  • Audience Frame of Reference. One thing that happens to us all is that we get too close to the proposal. We can start talking and completely lose our audience because they don’t have the same frame of reference, a frame of reference you may have spent months or longer building. So take some time to provide that same perspective to your audience with key points that make sense given their background and experience. It’s all about taking your audience into account.
  • Audience Needs. As you prepare your proposal, make sure you always take into account your boss’s requirements. We call it “What’s in it for me?” Your pitch is not about your needs, wants, goals, passions, etc. It’s about what your boss needs and what she feels is needed for the organization. Align your pitch within that framework.
  • Solutions to Problems. A big part of your proposal needs to focus on solutions to existing problems within the organization. What’s it going to do for your cause? Ideally, your solution is matched up with a critical problem.
  • Timing is Everything. It’s best not to try your pitch during the crisis du jour or during your annual big meeting. Just as you need to take into account your boss’s needs and frame of reference, you also need to take into account what’s going on in their day, week, and month. You need to time your pitch so that they can actually take the time to thoughtfully listen and consider your proposal.
  • Talk Don’t Type. You really need to do your selling in person. It’s not an email or written report, although you may want to have a report or slide deck to use in your personal pitch. You need to talk directly to your boss so that you can gain insight from their body language and by the same token you can convey your enthusiasm for your proposal directly. That typically doesn’t come off in a written message. Plus, a written message can be easily set aside or misinterpreted.
  • Practice Makes Perfect. Since you're doing your selling in person, rather than throwing a document at your boss, take the time to practice your pitch. Just saying it out loud in front of a mirror can reveal gaps in your thinking or the way you’ve framed your pitch. Ideally, you have a trusted colleague who can serve as a critical audience and provide suggestions.
  • Listen. You need to devote a great deal of your selling time to listening to your boss. They will be conveying their own goals, their concerns, and their suggestions. Capture those and respond, ideally on the spot, or at least when you follow up the discussion. It can also come in handy when you make your next pitch.
  • Don’t Over Promise. I really like the adage “under promise and over deliver.” It’s way too easy to over promise on the impact of your proposal. When all is said and done, you also need to deliver on the promise. If you can’t, all the rest of your proposals will be discounted or dismissed entirely.
  • Don’t Give. Your first, second, and perhaps even your third pitch might not be successful. Don’t give up. Perhaps your timing is off or the pitch is off. Or, you may find that months later your suggestion will show up in some other guise, after your boss or her boss has seen the light but not quite matched it with your original proposal. And, remember that the best sales people fail far more times than they succeed.
  • Attitude. This is where attitude comes into play. Your idea may be rejected, adapted, or appropriated. Either way, you need to stay in the game and do so with a positive attitude looking for even more ways to make a contribution to the organization that makes a difference.

Tap Experts to Support Your Proposal

Another item on your list should be to tap experts who can support your proposal and bring their credibility—gained through years of experience—to your ideas. Add Campaign Now to that list.

We’ve worked with a wide range of nonprofits at various stages in the development of their strategies. With that experience and expertise, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. We can bring all that to you and your organization.

Contact us at (855) 329-4327 or


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John Connors

John Connors

John is a passionate patriot and business owner. He launched Campaign Now in 2008 to help free-market oriented, American organizations increase their reach and achieve important results. When he’s not strategizing growth plans with clients, you can find him sharpening his history chops, playing tennis in the Texas heat, or spending time with family.


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