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  • Debra A. Gill

Fundraising Resolutions

Do you know where your cheese is?


Tis the season to set personal goals for fitness and other important life commitments. So too is it an opportunity for fundraisers to start the new year with resolute professional goals. I’m not just talking about financial targets but rather shining a spotlight on the quality of work you intend to offer this year.

Now that we are in our third year of change, it’s probably time to accept the fact that our cheese has been moved. One of my favorite donors used to say, “if you don’t stir the pot, the scum rises to the top.” It may sound a bit harsh, but the truth is that we may have needed a little pot stirring to stimulate some reinvention and empower us to work smarter.


January is the perfect time to reflect on opportunities to grow and strengthen skill sets. Being lifelong learners is one of the strongest characteristics we can possess. I’ve been lucky enough to work in philanthropy for over 35 years and I still learn every day. I learn from donors. I learn from colleagues. I learn from clients. I have learned from the pandemic. If we stop learning, we stop growing and if we stop growing … we’re a little like the pot with scum settled on the top.

Here are some of my resolutions (most of them SMART), what are yours?


  • I’m going to re-read and recommit to the Donor Bill of Rights.


  • I’m going to encourage at least five practitioners to get their CFRE or go beyond if they already have it. #CFRE


  • I’m going to practice what I preach - we have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. Let’s use them proportionately.


  • I’m going to take advantage of the resources available through professional associations and encourage others to do the same. #AHP #AFP #MNA


  • I’m going to work hard to coach my clients to go beyond serial cultivation to experience meaningful and productive solicitation conversations.


  • I’m going to avoid taboo words. More information on this topic will be in a forthcoming blog.


  • I’m going to celebrate successes, accept failures, and stir the pot now and then.



Alliance Philanthropy’s philosophy is to inspire staff, volunteers, and board members for all types of not-for-profit organizations to raise funds enthusiastically and passionately - at maximum levels - in support of their missions.


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