what the fundraising book cover

What The Fundraising: Embracing and Enabling the People Behind the Purpose is an essential resource for nonprofit professionals, especially those in fundraising roles, who want to feel better, do better, and raise more, finally overcoming the challenges they face in their drive to catalyze lasting change in the world.

what the fundraising book cover

Mallory Erickson’s What The Fundraising sheds crucial light on the often overlooked causes of burnout in the nonprofit sector. By illuminating the brain-body connection, she empowers fundraisers to understand and address the underlying stressors. This book is a groundbreaking resource for sustainable success in social justice and beyond.

Dr. Linnea Passaler, Author of Heal Your Nervous System


Mallory Erickson is an executive coach, fundraising consultant, and host of the What the Fundraising podcast, aimed at supporting nonprofit leaders to fundamentally change the way they lead and fundraise. Through her signature framework, the Power Partners Formula™️, Mallory provides unique tools to help nonprofits fundraise more from foundations, corporate partners, and individuals. As of 2024, she has trained over 60,000 fundraisers using elements of her unique win-win framework, which combines best practices from executive coaching, science-backed behavior design, and fundraising strategy.

If you want to feel differently about fundraising as well as clear and excited about your next steps, Mallory’s work is for you.



Every year, billions of dollars are raised by millions of professionals and volunteers who work to secure funding for the causes they care about. Despite the importance of this work, nonprofit leaders often face significant challenges in their fundraising efforts.

Without holistic training and support, they are left to self-navigate the complex and psychologically exhausting world of fundraising. The result is a sector plagued by a simultaneous decline in giving and a fundraiser crisis.

By tackling underlying sector issues that lead to chronic stress and burnout, and drawing on research in psychology, behavioral science, neuroscience, and executive coaching, What the Fundraising presents practical frameworks and tools to help nonprofits better support fundraisers and empower them to become more emboldened, embodied, and effective in their roles.

The book introduces the concept of “alignment-first” fundraising: an approach designed to move fundraisers out of a transactional and money-first strategy by using principles centered around empathy, connection, and shared goals.

Alignment fundraising rejects the zero-sum game mentality that is pervasive throughout the sector and ultimately enables fundraisers to build powerful partnerships that help nonprofits reclaim their power, channel necessary resources towards critical global issues, and lead as system change-makers.

What The Fundraising shows the power of shifting mindsets and applying new frameworks to daily life. Mallory's application of the concepts in Energy Leadership to the fundraising field empowers fundraisers to reach new heights. Her compassion, tenacity, and belief in her colleagues' potential have created a masterful playbook, destined to be a go-to resource for years to come.

Bruce D. Schneider, Author of Energy Leadership

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What The Fundraising is a deeply personal and profoundly insightful journey into the heart of nonprofit fundraising. Mallory Erickson’s candid storytelling and innovative strategies provide a fresh, empowering approach to an often-daunting task. This book is a must-read for anyone in the nonprofit sector looking to transform their fundraising practices and build authentic, sustainable relationships with donors.

Don’t let the word “fundraising” mislead you. This book is for anyone who creates, holds, and manages relationships – meaning everyone. For impact leaders and change-makers who are looking to navigate the world in a new way, this book is a guide to follow. [...] Mallory’s ability to address and dismantle the common negative self-talk in order to thrive and hold healthy relationships is refreshing and inviting.

We live in a world where scarcity mindset is lived and celebrated in different forms. A constant lingering sense of fear and competition feels like the starting point for almost every task. Our sector (nonprofit) is no different when it comes to fundraising. The scarcity mindset – that we lose, if someone else wins, or, if I center myself, my energy, I will be left behind in our arbitrary timelines – that affects how we show up in this work (and our success measures). All of it affects our behaviors, expectations, and intentions to the point that it convinces us to clutch tightly to what we have, fearing loss more than we crave meaningful, collaborative growth.

I am so grateful Mallory’s book exists in this world now – enabling every reader to work on that relentless fear. This book allows us to see possibilities and approach trust-building in a completely different way. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and thoroughness in every chapter – that repeats the very important message – that abundance mindset is a practice of joy and purpose. The blended life coach and data scientist in me can’t wait to pick up this book a few times a year.

A must-read for our entire industry and a forward-thinking guide for creating the world we want to live in. This brilliant book leads us to a more purpose-driven world centered around compassionate and collaborative fundraising. Mallory holds our hand, reminds us to stay in our hearts, and gives us all the real-life tools we need.

In What The Fundraising: Embracing and Enabling the People Behind the Purpose, Mallory Erickson leads the charge on the future of fundraising with unparalleled insight and empathy. As someone deeply entrenched in the nonprofit sector, I can attest to the chronic challenges fundraisers face daily—stress, burnout, and a relentless chase for donations. Erickson’s groundbreaking work shifts the paradigm from a transactional, dollar-driven approach to one of alignment, empathy, and sustainable impact.

Fundraisers are exhausted because we’ve been conditioned to focus solely on donations rather than co-building an aligned DREAM with our donors. Mallory’s book eloquently transforms this mindset, offering a revolutionary approach that fosters genuine connections and shared goals.

This book is not just a guide; it’s a manifesto for lasting change. By addressing the root causes of stress and burnout in the sector, Erickson paves the way for a healthier, more vibrant nonprofit community.

What The Fundraising is an essential resource for any nonprofit professional, especially those on the front lines of fundraising. This book challenges fundraisers to improve their well-being, effectiveness, and results by adopting a comprehensive, people-focused approach. Mallory Erickson’s innovative insights pave the way for a more promising and impactful future in fundraising, turning it from a stressful endeavor into a powerful force for enduring, significant change. It is essential reading for anyone committed to driving meaningful progress in the world.

Mallory breaks down what can be seen as an incredibly scary and overwhelming process of fundraising into very practical and embodied steps that help your body and nervous system feel safe to raise money in an aligned and authentic way. What a gift this book is for fundraisers.

What The Fundraising by Mallory Erickson is a hilarious and brutally honest guide to the sometimes chaotic world of nonprofit fundraising. Erickson doesn't just pull back the curtain; she rips it off the rod and sets it on fire. This book is a must-read for anyone who’s ever felt like raising money is like juggling flaming torches while riding a unicycle on a tightrope—blindfolded.

As a Black woman with 25+ years experience as a development professional and trusted philanthropic advisor, I can confidently say I wish I had this book when I was at my lowest. Erickson's insights are a lifeline for those navigating the nonprofit sector's labyrinth of underfunding, lack of trust, and unrealistic expectations. She tackles the unique challenges I faced with a blend of empathy and wit, making it clear that fundraising is less about the money and more about surviving the circus.

If you've ever wondered why your brilliant ideas are met with skepticism or why your funding proposals seem to vanish into a black hole, What The Fundraising will resonate deeply. Erickson’s blend of personal anecdotes, research backed themes and strategic advice is both empowering and laugh-out-loud funny. She captures the essence of what it means to be a fundraiser in this field today: resilient, resourceful, and ready to turn every obstacle into an opportunity for growth.

In short, What The Fundraising is the ultimate survival guide for anyone brave enough to tackle the nonprofit sector. It’s not just a book; it’s a revolution wrapped in humor and hard truths. Get ready to laugh, cry, and most importantly, thrive.

Erickson has penned an essential read for anyone seeking to make a significant contribution to the nonprofit sector. What The Fundraising combines strategic insights with heartfelt advice, providing a roadmap for fundraisers to navigate their sacred roles with confidence and an alignment-first approach that is incredibly effective, ultimately reshaping the way we think about and approach fundraising.

Mallory Erickson wants us all to succeed. She has taken on that mission with an approach that is both vulnerably personal and pragmatically empirical. She leads by example, sharing her own emotional struggles and uncovering sometimes-uncomfortable truths in a profession that can be uniquely challenging.

In this book, Erickson dismantles common fundraising myths and misconceptions that so often lead to counter-productive practices. Recognizing that fundraiser behavior is the primary influencer of donor action or inaction, she provides science-backed, practical advice that leads to better outcomes.

What The Fundraising is a clear guide for an industry in dire need of new approaches. It is a thoughtful and caring manual that moves fundraisers from struggling to thriving. This book is for every fundraiser who feels isolated and uncertain and for every nonprofit leader looking for a direct way to be accountable for their own success.

In this engaging book, Mallory Erickson generously shares her deep and broad experience in fundraising surfacing invaluable insights backed by research from various academic fields. She connects fundraising practices to fundraisers' own psychology, which prompts very productive self-reflection. The book will no doubt be enlightening and energizing not just for fundraisers, but also for anyone whose job requires making asks of others.

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