I recently celebrated the 5 year anniversary of starting my business, “In the Know.” That’s me, surrounded by my amazing volunteer Board of Advisors. Each of them helped me to hit this milestone. And as I reflect back, I think of five things I have learned…all of which could help you with fundraising.

1 – Ask for help when you need it. When I started my business, there was so much I didn’t know. So I surrounded myself with smart people who all had different gifts: marketing, research, business experience, legal help, and more. I could have struggled through, but each of them helped propel me forward faster because I could learn from their knowledge.

2 – Nothing works better than relationships. There isn’t a shortcut to developing a devoted list of donors or clients. What works best is what has always worked…building relationships over time.

3 – Know your strengths. Sometimes it feels like we have to know it all, but we don’t. I have learned what I am really good at, and what things I should recruit someone else to do. When I come from my strength I enjoy my work so much more.

4 – Giving back feels good. At the end of the day, I started my business for the same reason you do your job: it feels great to be part of the solution. I love that my work helps nonprofits make a greater impact on our community and our world.

5 – Take care of YOU. I have learned the hard way that when I give and give and give, I have nothing left for myself. And then I can’t give to others either. When I have a great balance of work and life by taking care of me, I can make an even greater impact when I am working.

I hope my lessons learned have been helpful to you too! I would like to send a special thanks to my volunteer Board of Advisors: (left to right) Bryn Rath, Jami Fassett, Joe Grubenhoff, (me), Jayne & Dan Smith, Terri Starck, and Jennifer Knievel.