Fundraising for Impact

by Kori Crockett Cofounder / CEO


National Philanthropy Day was Thursday, November 15. I attended the AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) West Michigan’s luncheon which honored local awardees and featured a keynote address by Dan Pallotta.

As I’m growing in the area of fundraising - both personally and professionally - I was super excited to meet people who work in fundraising and development and to hear Dan speak after watching his TED talks “The way we think about charity is dead wrong” and “The dream we haven’t dared to dream.”

My main takeaways from the event -

Fundraising is the most important thing for our impact!
Said another way, our impact is directly tied to how much money we raise!! I now realize that my fear of asking individuals for money pales in comparison to the impact we’re called to make as an organization. Asking I will go.

Nonprofit fundraising culture is adverse to risk.
However, risk-taking will solve our largest social problems! The answers don’t exist yet. We knew getting funding for early-stage social impact work would be next to impossible - it’s largely why we decided to self-fund Propeller Collective’s infancy - but hearing it out loud in this setting made me realize just how much early-stage funding is needed to make big change in the world. As Dan said, “Innovation and failure go hand in hand.” We have to try new things and get it wrong before we’re able to get it right.

Low overhead is not the holy grail everyone thinks it is.
Administrative and fundraising costs are necessary and okay to spend money on. And, new organizations tend to have much higher overhead compared to a mature organization because they’re just getting started implementing their programs and services.

Shoutout to my tablemates!
From the Cherry Health Foundation, Reformed Church, and Christian Reformed Church. Talking with them about “making the ask” and seeing just how comfortable they are in asking individuals for donations (like it’s a normal, everyday thing!) eased a lot of my anxiety about fundraising, because it is a normal, everyday thing. I’m excited to follow up with them to learn more from their experience in fundraising and development.

We can change the world.
You can, too.

People yearn to do the most they can do to help, but they have to be asked. - Dan Pallotta


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