Escape Your Comfort Zone to Raise More Money

It’s that time again. Time to reflect on the year that’s coming to an end and look ahead to what the new year might bring. Whether or not you make New Year’s resolutions, you’re likely to evaluate your past fundraising efforts and consider raising more money for your mission in 2015.

Image: Stuart Miles at

Image: Stuart Miles at

Your next step is to think about HOW you’re going to raise more money. My suggestion? Get uncomfortable! According to Michael Port, author of The Think Big Manifesto, to truly thrive and grow, we have to let go of self-imposed limitations. And one way to do this, according to Port, is to “get comfortable with discomfort.”

Here are three ways escaping your comfort zone (in the spirit of thinking big) will help you raise more money.

Go Big

When it comes to setting your annual fundraising goal, go big. How big? You want to set a goal that’s between staying the same (read easy, safe and comfortable) and a wildly unrealistic TOO BIG goal. Neither of these extremes is helpful to your mission. The ambitious right-sized goal is the way to go.

An ambitious goal will get you out of your comfort zone because it’s a stretch. You haven’t done it before. But a stretch goal that’s based on what’s truly attainable can motivate staff and volunteers to new heights. And when you reach this goal, your organization can do more to meet its mission.

A step in the right direction…

Be sure everyone on your team, including fundraising volunteers, understands your new ambitious goal and the reasoning behind it. You can’t do this all on your own and it’s important for your team to appreciate where you’re all headed. 

Try New Things

Trying new things means changing how you’ve done things in the past, and change can be uncomfortable. You may not be able to predict outcomes as reliably as before and you’ll likely feel you have less control. But to reach your new ambitious goal, you’ll need to go beyond the same old things!

As Tony Robbins has said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

A step in the right direction…

Know that you’ll be out of your comfort zone and that’s ok. Ask yourself and your team, what can we be doing differently? Maybe you’ll restructure your annual event (or cancel it altogether!), or revamp your direct mail, or meet more of your donors face-to-face, or start a major gifts program, or invest in a donor management system, or schedule a phone-a-thon… the possibilities go on and on!

Ask for Help

Is asking for help outside of your comfort zone? For some, no, for others, yes. Maybe you think asking for help is a sign of weakness. But when you’re Trying New Things (see above), you’ll likely benefit from asking for help. And so will your organization when you’re raising more money as a result. Why reinvent the wheel when someone can show you the way to reach your goals?

A step in the right direction…

Once you and your team decide what new things you’ll try in 2015, find ways to learn. This could be as simple as having coffee with a colleague who knows more than you do on the subject. Or you might take a class, attend a webinar, buy a book, listen to a podcast, find a mentor, or attend a conference.

What do you think? Can getting out of your comfort zone help you raise more money? Please share in the comments box below.

If you'd like to start a major gifts program in 2015 but you don’t know where to start, you’re invited to join me in January and February for a focused 5-Week Class, Major Gifts Made Easy. Learn more here