This week I've invited Dane Burgess, one of the most successful fundraisers I've ever met, to discuss a few steps on how to raise money for any endeavor.

Whether you need to raise money for a cause, a campaign--or even for your job--fundraising can be scary and downright frightening.

I spent close to 4 years fundraising for my job, not because I loved fundraising, but because I was truly passionate about my job and, in an economic downturn, it was the only way that I could keep my job. 

Fundraising can be scary, but the fear of it does not need to paralyze you. Here are five tips for fundraising success. 

1. Time Spent Is Money Earned

When you are fundraising, you can work on a lot of different projects, but most of the time those projects are a waste of time. I get it, you're scared out of your mind, but you need to meet with people, call them onto your team, and--potentially--get rejected.

At the end of the day you have to accept that everyone will be rejected at some point in their life and make the choice to move forward. Once you accept that fact then you don't need to be afraid of someone rejecting you. Give yourself permission to stop spending time on less important projects.

Meeting with people face-to-face will always be the most important thing that you can be doing with your time.

2. Connect, Connect, Connect

No one likes a salesman, but, when you are fundraising, some people automatically think that you sound or look like a salesman. Ignore the noise. At the end of the day, do you care about the money or do you care about the people that you are trying to get to support you? One of the most rewarding things about fundraising was not the money I was able to raise, but the people I got to know and that I got to share my passion with them.

3. Paint a picture within your presentation

Show me why I am missing out on joining your team. Have you ever been in a presentation where the presenter was so dry that no matter how great the cause was you would never support him? When presenting to potential investors, you need to paint a vivid picture as to why they should be excited about supporting you financially. Give people a vision of your passion and why you are so excited about your mission. 

4. Gaining Connections > Gaining Money

You're on the grind, you've received another donor who has committed to supporting what you are doing on a monthly basis, but you failed to ask for them to connect you with other potential investors that they might know. In fundraising, we call that a failure.

The most important thing to fundraising is not the money gained, but the pockets of people others can open up for you. It is all about connections--and if you only have a limited number of people that you are connected to then you need to utilize the connection of people your supporters know in order to gain larger access to bigger groups of people.

Connections to new people are one of the surest predictors of success in fundraising. 

5.  Cultivate a Fanbase

Support raising never ends. As soon as someone joins your support team, an already existing supporter will drop off your team. In order to ensure that you maintain a healthy group of supporters, you will have to spend time caring for your supporters. They have gone out of their way to give you money for something you believe in so update them on your successes, send them thank-you notes, and ensure that you share an ongoing vision with them to keep them invested into the mission.

If you follow these five steps then you will be on your way to fundraising success!

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