Positivity is the First Step in Your Fundraising Plan

Brooke Battle
Written by :

Brooke Battle

Categories: FundraisingOnline Fundraising

I love Mondays and New Years Day.   The start of a new year and even a new week fills me with optimism about what can be accomplished.   

As we all launch into another year of fundraising, let’s talk about one of the most important ingredients for your fundraising plan - Positivity.  

The job of a development director is hard. Period.  As Joan Garry reminds us, nonprofits are messy!  So, it's no surprise that we want to complain about board members, volunteers, our old computer or hand-me-down furniture.  However, you just cannot - or at least not at work.  It is important to stay positive and take care of yourself in a way that ensures that you can bring positivity into your work.   Positive fundraisers have more engaged board members, happy staff and smiling friends at events (every year!).    


In Swell’s portfolio of clients, nonprofit staff who are positive have the best fundraising results.   It’s true. Our clients who find ways to stay positive and discuss issues in their organization constructively (but with optimism) succeed.   

Positivity impacts fundraising.  

READ: 7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Positive Attitude

  1. Fundraising is powered by people.  Positive people attract other positive people and it is more likely that others want to be around you and your organization.  No one enjoys being around a negative person. You need people  (lots of people) to support your organization and positivity at the top will infuse your culture. 

  2. Overcome Hurdles.   Achieving your annual fundraising results will require you to overcome hurdles.   Positivity will help you see past the obstacle and get through it. Some call this grit, it’s also a belief that regardless of the challenge you have the ability to figure out a solution.

  3. Productivity.    The connection between productivity and positivity makes sense but it is also proven.   Referenced in the following article How Positivity Impacts Productivity, research demonstrates that ‘negative words impact the memory associations necessary for productive work’.    Venting to your co-workers (or worse your board members) hurts your productivity and theirs.

  4. Influence.  Developing individuals and organizations for giving requires the ability to influence others.  While humans are influenced to act by negative words or actions, those gifts will be temporary and not easily retained.  Humans are attracted to positive experiences.   A donor or community member influenced by positivity will give and continue to give in the future.  

The first big step toward your 2019 fundraising plan is to practice positivity.     This means to (1) Hold that complaint to yourself until you have a constructive message to convey, (2) Recognize opportunity in failure, (3) Surround yourself with positive people, (4) Do not vent to co-workers, board members or volunteers, and (5) Practice gratefulness daily. 

We will support you through positive messaging and our commitment to helping the nonprofit fundraising process Be Swell.