Three Ways to Bake Success into Your Fundraising Strategy

January 26, 2022

If you’re anything like us, you probably became card-carrying members of the Bread Bakers Guild of America during the early months of lockdown. Baking flawless loaves of sourdough became the quarantine hobby de jure, where kneading and shaping the perfect mix of flour, yeast, and water into satisfying and succulent sustenance gave us a sense of control and safety.


We’re now out of lockdown and increasingly swapping the kitchen counter for the office desk. But every time we pass the local bakery on our way to the train and get a whiff of a freshly baked loaf, it brings us back to our kitchens and the process of gathering, combining, rising, and enjoying all that went into our baking obsession.


These kitchen rhythms are exactly the ones needed in the office to up our fundraising skills and grow our organizations.


This past year has shown that the right mix of vision, strategy, technology, creativity, and partnership can have a transformational impact on organizations and communities, amplifying do-good messages and the ability to act on them. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, for example, became a lifeline for local families in crisis in March 2020. Fast forward a year later and it had provided nearly 37 million pounds of food to 70,000 households, doubling the number of its website visitors, and increasing its online revenue by an astounding 876 percent.


The food bank, faced with a steep rise in demand for its services, was positioned to meet the moment. Here are a few key ingredients that went into their magic mix.

Investing Proactively

Even before the pandemic, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank had identified optimal web performance as a critical organizational need. That led to investing in a technological platform that would transform its online supporter experience. In partnership with our team at One & All, the food bank made the decision to migrate its website to Qgiv. In a moment of fortuitous timing, the transition was complete by February 2020, meaning the food bank was ready to provide its much-needed services when calamity struck.


The lesson: once you identify a core need, make it a priority to invest in the tools that will address it. Don’t wait for a crisis. Don’t put it off until the next quarter. Proactive investments should never stop.

Partnering Wisely

Forming valuable partnerships played a key role in the stunning success of the food bank this past year: collaboration with experts across industries allowed it to grow its impact and exponentially help more neighbors in need.


Partnerships are based on trust. Seek partners who are truly committed to the success of your organization, the well-being of your community and who share your values. The exchange of information and across-the-board collaboration with like-minded experts will prove transformational.

Staying Curious

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank attributes its success to collective curiosity, which in this case took the form of testing to learn more about its supporters. From donation form optimization to sustainer callout testing, our teams constantly identified potential opportunities to engage donors and expand the food bank’s impact.


It’s crucial to ask the right questions. Creating a shared space for collaborative brainstorming means that every partnership player will be heard and ups the possibility of critical insights that fuel growth.

On your mark, get set, bake!

There may not be one recipe for success for all social good organizations, but the right mix of proactive investments, wise partnerships, and relentless curiosity will allow you to escalate impact and meet unforeseen challenges. Your organization and its ability to help will rise to the top, just like that loaf of sourdough.


(A different version of this article first appeared in a post with agency partner, Qgiv.)