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This is 'Upside Down' Fundraising

I'd like to share with you a small - but significant - mindset shift.

Consider the players in your work as a Jewish leader.


  1.   You and Your Team - You who do all the work.
  2.   People You Serve  - Those who benefit from your efforts. 
  3.   Your Donors - Those who fund your efforts.

Most leaders view these three players like this.


Which is the more important point in this pyramid?


Most answer - the top point.


The top point is where most leaders place themselves. After all, they say, “we're the ones who are making it all happen.”


Now here's the mindset shift.


Something remarkable occurs when you look at the players from the following perspective.

Who now becomes most important?


It's the guys at the top again.


Now it's 'Your Donors' and the 'People You Serve' who get the position of importance. Which leaves 'You and Your Team' to take the bottom point on the pyramid.


With this shift in position the narrative we tell ourselves changes.


The good you achieve is now because of your donors - funding your projects - which impact the people you serve.


And you? 

You’re the facilitator of that good - for the donors - to help the people you serve. This mindset shift will do wonders for your fundraising.



A donor wants to feel he's making a difference. By raising the donor to the top of the pyramid, you make them the essential part of your story.


Even though you're the one - sweating - putting in all the effort. When you humbly attribute your success to your donor, you shift the relationship.


They, as a result, feel more ownership of the good you do. And they become more committed ambassadors of your cause. That’s great fundraising.


How do you do this?

Shift from talking about what you are doing to what the donor is making possible.


For example,

  • “Danny, because of you, we launched this successful student follow-up program."
  • “Jake, if not for your investment in us, none of this would have been possible.”
  • “Susan, all these people were impacted because of your generosity.”
  • “Let me share how your donation led to the great success we've seen.”

What’s the next step?

Write down one success you or your team made happen that you want to brag about?

Reframe it.

Make the donor the cause of the good you do, using words like

  • ‘Because of you’,
  • ‘If not for your support’
  • ‘This is what you made possible.’

Beyond this - get your staff, team, board and volunteers to see the world through the 'upside down pyramid.' mindset.


Do it well and your donors will become your biggest fans - telling others about the great work that YOU and YOUR team are doing.


Counter intuitive for sure. But aren't the best mindsets and ideas always like that?


B'Hatzlacha raba raba,


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