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Episode 28: Barbara O’Reilly — 4 factors that influence fundraising success

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“The whole point of a plan is not just giving yourself a roadmap. The plan serves as a buffer to the external factors that might influence and determine your degree of success.”

— Barbara O’Reilly

Do you have a fundraising plan for 2021? Do you have a roadmap for how you will fund your mission during the next 12 months — and beyond?

The simple act of developing a fundraising and development plan will already make you more likely to succeed, according to a new study co-authored by today’s guest.

But beyond just having plan, there are 4 main factors that influence just how successful your fundraising will be.

Today we’re talking to Barbara O’Reilly, president of Windmill Hill Consulting. She recently teamed up with the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy to study the difference a fundraising plan can make.

During the study, Barbara noticed common traits every successful nonprofit has in common. We are lucky to have her with us to learn the 4 factors that influence fundraising success.

Today we’ll cover:

  • [4:06] – Did the study find that having a plan leads to better fundraising outcomes?
  • [5:53] – What a fundraising plan is
  • [10:54] – Factor #1: A fundraising culture. What does it mean to have a fundraising culture?
  • [15:30] – How to get the whole organization to adopt a philanthropic mindset
  • [20:15] – Factor #2: Data-informed planning
  • [23:20] – Using data to adjust your fundraising plan
  • [26:16] – Factor #3: Commitment to the plan
  • [28:38] – Can you take advantage of unforeseen opportunities and stay committed to your plan?
  • [35:28] – Factor #4: Senior leadership and board Involvement
  • [37:40] – 2 non-negotiable requirements for board members
  • [44:15] – Barbara’s encouragement for nonprofit leaders

Barbara would love to connect with you. You can find information about her at her website:

You can also access the study here:

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