Hit, Tackle, Block: Focus on Fundamentals to Raise More Money

"Hit, Tackle, Block" was emblazoned across the chest of a vintage high school cotton liner. One of the guys on our college football team had come across this relic and wore it often.

By Tim Winkler, Winkler Group Founder and CEO

I remember the slogan to this day because of how it simply and accurately described what winning football teams do. 

Even to this day, with offenses running sophisticated spread option attacks, wild cat formations, and disguising their defenses, the team that does the best job of hitting, tackling, and blocking is usually the one that wins the game. Of course, there are other factors that determine the outcome, but ultimately winning programs are the ones that do the fundamentals incredibly well. In fact, it’s so straightforward sometimes I wonder why we overthink it.

As we gear up for another exciting Super Bowl season, the same principles hold true with regard to fundraising. 

Candidly, I shudder every time I attend a conference or read an article that says someone is going to share the latest trick with regard to successful fundraising. Somehow this person has uncovered a heretofore hidden methodology that will unleash rivers of money flowing into your organization. 

It’s just not true.

At the end of the day successful fundraising revolves around doing the fundamentals of our profession well. When it’s all said and done, our job as development officers comes down to identifying like-minded individuals who care about our mission, sharing our vision with them, and extending an invitation to be a part of the solution.

Yes, there are other factors involved as well.  To be sure, successful fundraising requires a talented professional with a very specific skill set. However, I see so many organizations chasing their tail, wasting valuable time and resources pursuing the latest gimmicky trend. Donors, and really all people, want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. That in some way they contribute to the larger good. The work we do provides the platform to accomplish such aspirations.  And while we always want to be open to try new ideas in our profession, let’s make sure we don’t overthink it.

Hit, Tackle, Block—here. As fundraisers, remember the fundamentals: Mission, Vision, Invitation.

About the Author

As founder and CEO, Tim Winkler provides the overall strategic direction and vision of the firm’s practice. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). Throughout his career, every campaign he has led has met or exceeded its goal. He has a B.A. from Wheaton College and an M.A. from Columbia Biblical Seminary. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn.

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