Water dripping from a leaky outdoor faucet

Got Leaky Pipes? The Effective Fundraiser, Part 1

Got Leaky Pipes? The Effective Fundraiser, Part 1

by Bill High

I remember when I first started in the donor advised fund world. One of our earliest funds was opened by a sharp, shrewd man. He asked me a simple question: “Do you have your donor advised fund set up?”

Now, in truth, I’d been planning to set mine up, but I hadn’t yet. And there was a part of me that offered the rationale, “But I’m not rich…” Nonetheless, his question cut right to the point.

Shortly after that conversation I got my fund set up, and I’ve used it regularly ever since. In fact, I do all my giving through the account. I’ve used it for family giving. I’ve used it to help individuals in need.

I’ve also made sure that not only does my donor advised fund but also my personal investing reflects the values that I hold personally. In some cases that meant selling out of stocks whose company values I did not agree with. I also revised my will and trust and made sure that my fund is a beneficiary of my estate.

At a much deeper level, I’ve continued to work at growing in my own personal generosity. It’s a work in progress.

I’ve worked to fix my proverbial leaky pipes. Fixing leaky pipes is something I often challenge ministry leaders—whether CEOs, presidents, development directors, board members etc.—to make sure they’ve addressed.

In my view, it is difficult to be an effective fundraiser if you are not experiencing the things that your donors are experiencing. Are you stretching in your own generosity? What’s your major gift? Do you use a donor advised fund? Does your estate include charitable giving?

As we fix our own leaky pipes, we’ll see greater generosity from the people we serve. I guarantee it.


[This article is the first of two “Leaky Pipes” posts. You can find the second one here.]



Photo by Joe Zlomek on Unsplash

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Published November 15, 2021

Topics: Generosity | Nonprofit Development

Donor Advised FundsDonorsFundraisingGenerosityMajor DonorsNonprofit Development

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