December 13, 2023 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Nonprofit News

13 Fundraising Lessons from Taylor Swift

Whether you are a Swiftie who dressed up for the Eras Tour, you’re a reader of Time Magazine, or you live on planet Earth, you know that Taylor Swift has been making impactful waves in 2023 through philanthropic efforts. Not only does her generosity affect the nonprofit world, she also gives fundraisers important lessons through her lyrics. Swift’s profound thoughts help listeners to take risks, pursue dreams, and sometimes, to simply get up and dance – which are all important best practices for fundraisers and the nonprofit world. 

In honor of Taylor Swift’s monumental cultural impact, here are 13 of her song lyrics to help inspire nonprofit professionals to do more for their mission.

in your swfitie era spotify wrapped image

1. “Our song is a slamming screen door. Sneakin’ out late, tapping on your window.” – Our Song

Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” reminds us of the power of a unique and unforgettable story. In fundraising, an organization’s narrative is your song — a distinctive melody surrounding your mission that resonates with donors. 

A cause’s story should be a vivid, authentic expression that donors can associate with. The quirks, the challenges, and the triumphs that make an organization unique are the same threads that lead to donors feeling connected to a mission. By crafting a narrative that stands out and is specific to the need, nonprofits create a “song” that donors won’t just listen to, but will enthusiastically sing along with, becoming an integral part of your shared story.

2. “So make the friendship bracelets.” – You’re On Your Own Kid

A key part of fundraising and the donor journey is the acknowledgements of gifts. Acknowledging donors paves the way for a gift to be more than just a transaction; it’s an opportunity to forge a genuine connection. 

Just like creating a unique friendship bracelet, taking the time to craft thank you messages that are specific to a donor action shows appreciation and fosters a bond that goes beyond the act of giving. It’s about making each supporter feel seen, valued, and an integral part of the cause they support.

3. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I laid the groundwork and then, just like clockwork, the dominoes cascaded in a line.” – Mastermind

Strategic planning in any venture is vital, and fundraising is no exception. Fundraisers are busy, but finding the time to meticulously lay the groundwork for campaigns, events, and annual communications plays a crucial role. 

Just as Swift describes the domino effect in her lyrics, a well-thought-out fundraising plan sets off a chain reaction of success. Embracing the role of the mastermind, planning meticulously, and watching as each fundraising domino falls seamlessly into place is a best practice.

4. “Long live the magic we made.” – Long Live

Nonprofit organizations rely on generosity to fuel their mission. Therefore, it is vital to document and communicate the impact of that generosity. Each gift, regardless of its size, leads to positive change so celebrating that impact proves that generosity has created magic and that the community has been affected. 

When nonprofits commemorate and honor the lasting impact happening through their programs, it is a testament to the collective power of generosity. Impact shows how a mission is brought to life and shows the difference made, which resonates far beyond the present moment and allows that magic to live longer.

How Storytelling Can Up Your Fundraising webinar thumbnail

Want to learn more about telling impactful stories? Check out “How Storytelling Can Up Your Fundraising Efforts” from nonprofit expert, Joan Garry.

5. “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” – 22

There is a complex and multifaceted nature of emotions when it comes to passion and mission. Because of the nature of working in nonprofits, fundraisers may find themselves on a unique island of challenges and opportunities. 

Fundraising, at times, can feel like a mix of happiness, freedom, confusion, and loneliness, all coexisting simultaneously. Acknowledging these feelings is key to finding balance, staying resilient, and steering through the vast sea of an impactful fundraising journey.

2024 Fundraising Calendar

DonorPerfect wants to walk with you through 2024. Check out our 2024 Fundraising Calendar full of key dates, self-care ideas, and practical tips to make 2024 your best year yet!

6. “And I don’t know how it gets better than this. You take my hand and drag me head first, fearless.” – Fearless

Embracing bold initiatives takes courage. Luckily, in the realm of fundraising, the passion behind the mission is an invitation to step fearlessly into the unknown. Launching new campaigns, forming innovative partnerships, and venturing into uncharted territories are all risky, but they are important opportunities for diversifying fundraising initiatives. The most significant successes in fundraising often emerge when we embrace the challenge with a fearless spirit, trusting that the step of faith will lead to more impact.

7. “I watched it begin again.” – Begin Again

There is such beauty in fresh starts. When it comes to fundraising campaigns, the need for renewal and adaptation is ever-present. Donors change, causes evolve, and strategies must shift. Just as Swift gracefully observes the beauty of a new beginning, fundraisers should embrace change and innovation. A fresh start brings with it the opportunity to learn, grow, and redefine success. So, watching fundraising efforts ‘begin again’ creates the potential for even greater impact and connection.

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When pursuing innovation, learning is the first step. Join us for the 2024 DonorPerfect Conference to SPARK new ideas! 

8. “And the monsters turned out to be just trees.” – Out Of The Woods

At times, the pressure of a nonprofit’s mission may feel overwhelming to a fundraiser, and mistakes may seem like insurmountable monsters. However, most of the time, our perceived “monsters” are just obstacles that, with perspective, turn out to be manageable. 

Maybe an event invite was sent with the wrong date, or a grant was not awarded due to an application mistake – these even seemingly significant errors can be overcome. By acknowledging and learning from these challenges, fundraisers can navigate the ‘woods’ of fundraising more resiliently, realizing that the path forward may be clearer than it initially appears.

9. “So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to.” – Call It What You Want

Being part of a club or group gives people a sense of belonging and, in a world that can seem so spread out, belonging is something that many long for. Creating programs and unique giving opportunities can offer a sense of belonging for your donors. When it comes to naming those programs, don’t shy away from embracing the unique and the unexpected. 

Crafting group identifiers that not only resonate with your cause, but also captivate the audience’s attention helps givers want to be involved. Fundraising programs should reflect the distinct identity and impact they carry. For example, a monthly giving program for an animal shelter could be called “monthly givers” or it could pack a little more pizazz by being labeled “the changemakers” or “animal ambassadors.” Be bold, be inventive, and let your program names echo the creativity at the heart of your mission.

monthly giving success kit

Monthly giving is a great way to bring donors in and allow them to feel belonging at your organization. Looking to start or grow your recurring giving program? Start with this all inclusive Monthly Giving Success Kit.

10. “Do something baby, say something.” – You’re Losing Me

Donor engagement is the heartbeat that sustains your mission, but it doesn’t just happen. Donor relationships need to be fostered. To do something and say something is an important invitation to take action, to communicate, and to keep the conversation alive. 

Engaging donors requires an active, two-way exchange. Whether it’s expressing gratitude, sharing updates, or involving them in the journey, the key is to continually do something and say something. By nurturing this dialogue, fundraisers can deepen connections, ensuring that donors remain an integral part of the transformative story being told.

11. “I go back to December all the time.” – Back to December

In the world of fundraising, year-end marks a crucial period for donor gifts, but also for the nonprofit to pause for reflection. Taking a moment to revisit the journey, the successes and the challenges, allows nonprofits to celebrate, grow, and plan for the year to come. Swift’s lyrics remind us that each December holds memories worth cherishing. 

Once the year is reviewed, there will be evident stories that stand out. Those stories can be used in year-end communications to acknowledge the support of your donors and partners. When a fundraiser makes every December a reflection of gratitude, the stage will be set for a new chapter of impact in the coming year.

end of year fundraising cycle graphic

Looking to tackle some last minute tasks for your December appeals? Visit our year-end hub and grab your bundle to help you get through the noise of fundraising at the end of the year.

12. “This night is sparkling, don’t you let it go. I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home.” – Enchanted

Unforgettable donor experiences are vital for creating a robust donor journey. Events or in-person interactions that are crafted to resemble a sparkling night will leave donors wonderstruck and eager to remain connected. 

By crafting moments that evoke emotions and memories, fundraisers can ensure that their cause remains imprinted on the hearts of supporters. In fundraising, leaving a lasting impression ensures that donors continue to journey with you, captivated by the sparkle of shared experiences.

13. “But I keep cruisin’, Can’t stop won’t stop groovin’” – Shake It Off

Fundraisers are always moving and the spirit of unwavering perseverance is what makes this nonprofit professional such an important pin in an organization. Working tirelessly for a mission can be challenging, and there may be moments when obstacles seem insurmountable. 

However, much like Swift’s determination to keep groovin’, this is a call to maintain your momentum. Shake off the setbacks, dance through the challenges, and keep your head held high. The journey may have its ups and downs, but your commitment and resilience will ensure that you continue moving forward, making a lasting impact with every step.

Bonus tip (from the vault): 

“Who you are is not what you did.” – Innocent

An important reminder from Taylor Swift’s catalog is for fundraisers to remember that their intrinsic value surpasses professional accomplishments. The tireless efforts put into fundraising are undoubtedly impactful, but it’s essential to recognize that your worth extends far beyond the outcomes

You are more than the metrics, the campaigns, and the achievements. Your unique qualities, your passion, and your dedication are drivers in the ability to create momentum around a mission. Just as Swift urges us to separate personal identity from actions, remember that the essence of who you are holds immeasurable value, independent of the work you do.

So, there you have it. Thirteen helpful fundraising tips straight from Taylor Swift’s discography. These nuggets of wisdom remind us that fundraising is not merely a transactional endeavor, but a heartfelt journey. Whether guiding us toward strategic planning, personalized engagement, or the creation of memorable experiences, these poetic reminders help fundraisers to leave donors enchanted. 

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Meet the author: Julia Gackenbach

Julia Gackenbach has spent over a decade working locally and globally with nonprofits. This has sharpened her skills to raise funds, care for donors and communicate impact. Her experience tied in with her desire to create community through a mission gives her unique passion to work with all types...

Learn more about Julia Gackenbach
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