The Gates Annual Letter – What We Can Learn From Bill & Melinda About Fundraising

Every year, Bill and Melinda Gates write a letter sharing their latest adventures in philanthropy. This year’s letter—3 Myths That Block Progress for the Poor—is one of the most powerful I’ve read. Beyond the compelling data and statistics, the letter packs a punch with some larger themes that ring true for nonprofit fundraising. Here are 2 of my favorites:

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Take apart the myths that slow down your work.

We all get caught up in myths about donors, colleagues, failure and success in our jobs. Myths abound, such as “Fundraising is hard,” “Board members don’t like to fundraise,” or “I need a list of 100 prospects to be able to raise money.” For examples specific to online fundraising, Claudia Henzel shares three myths about online fundraising here

To move forward with your work, you need to dismantle these myths and lock them in a closet. Focus on the facts in front of you. Trust your instincts and take action.

Pay attention to progress and celebrate success.

Fundraisers hear ‘no‘ too often. Don’t let this drag you down! Step back and acknowledge how far you and your team have come. Take time to celebrate the wins, big or small. 

You can check out the full Gates letter here

What do you like about the letter? What have you learned from philanthropists you’ve worked with?

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