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How To Build A Powerful Fundraising Culture To Attract Major Givers

I've teamed up with my friends at DOT Drives to bring you a 3-part series focused on the importance of culture in a fundraising organization, and how this will attract major givers.

Enjoy Part 1 of 3! 


Everyone knows how valuable a strong culture is for any organization. The questions is, how do you achieve it? Building a powerful culture starts with the right foundation.

The first thing to understand is that it won’t just happen on its own. People come from all different backgrounds and experiences. You can’t assume that everyone you bring into your team will see eye to eye on even the basic ways you respond to different situations. You have to be very intentional and have clear expectations on how you as an organization are expected to act and react!

We highly recommend crafting a DNA document or framework.

It can be very helpful during this step to get a consultant involved. They can work as a fresh set of eyes, and help you clearly and concisely express the principles and best practices that are most important. You and your entire team should sign this document stating that you agree that you will act and think within those guidelines to the best of your ability.

Here’s an example of a DNA document we use at Dot Drives. We take our culture very seriously, as should you! Everyone on our team has agreed to these best practices! We’ve already seen this extra effort pay dividends. 

"Win or Learn", a framework for viewing failures and successes.

Awesome, you have your cultural foundation set for your organization. That’s a great first step! Now the real work comes in; actually abiding to these principles when tensions are high and life happens! 

In fundraising of any kind there’s lots of potential outcomes. But, if you boil everything down it really comes down to either receiving a donation, or not receiving a donation. Your mentality during this part of the process is absolutely key to your long term success and sustainability! It’s also completely crucial to the culture of your team.

Teams need to think of this as “Win or Learn” not “Win or Lose.” As a team, the way that you respond to undesirable outcomes is very important. Ok, so you didn’t receive the donation you were hoping for. It happens! Do you view that as a Loss or as an opportunity to Learn?

If you’ve achieved a Win it’s important that you review your process and see where things worked well. If you did not achieve success, you need to review even closer! Usually, right below the surface, there’s something to Learn. Deconstruct the process, see where you can do things a little better next time!

What do you mean, process?

When we talk about fundraising, especially when it comes to Major Gift Fundraising - Process is King! Process is the only way that you can achieve sustainability and consistency. It’s the fastest route to building transformational partnerships vs. transactional relationships.

Do you need a process? Specifically a highly relational process?

Dot Drives was built just for that purpose! Remember, we’re nonprofit people, not software people! We needed a simple solution that took our Major Giver management process from isolated spreadsheets and clearly delivered them to the whole team.

Paired with a Coach to walk you through setting up your best practices, you have a powerful solution that delivers a crystal clear process to your entire team in the simplest way possible. See what I’m talking about at

We look forward to sharing part 2 next week.


Tactical Steps:

  1. Build out a DNA document and ensure that your team agrees to the principles! 

  2. Be very intentional with how you respond to perceived “Victories and Defeats,” viewing defeats as a learning opportunity above all else.

  3. Build a crystal clear process that you take your Major Givers through, and keep that process in front of your team! Whether it’s through Dot Drives or not, you need to document your process and have a way to communicate it clearly to your whole team. Not only that, you need to know which Major Givers are in your process, where they are in the process, who’s responsible for them etc!

Joshua Worret

Director of Operations, Dot Solutions LLC


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