The founder of Susan Kramer Consulting shares her profound insights, introducing the concept of “transactional versus transformational” philanthropy, and elaborating on the keys of understanding donors’ motivations and stories. Susan Kramer’s perspective on fundraising goes beyond tactics; it’s about creating genuine connections and aligning donors’ passions with the nonprofit’s mission. She highlights that fundraising isn’t about being transactional but building transformational relationships based on understanding and authenticity: “We are not sell, tell, and convince the donors. If you’re going to try to sell, tell, and convince, you’re going to live in transactional.” Susan’s shares her seven-letter formula for fundraising, starting with turning individuals into a community, engaging and educating them, leading to donors, investors, leaders, and advocates. She illustrates this journey with a fun kickball field example–showing how engagement gradually leads to deeper involvement. Susan challenges the idea that wealthy individuals are automatically the best donors, emphasizing that the most valuable donors may already be engaged with the nonprofit, hiding in plain sight. She encourages fundraisers to understand their donors’ capacity, affinity, and propensity to give and to engage them further through stewardship. The conversation also taps into the role of board members, suggesting that their engagement should be rooted in authentic storytelling. Board members should be encouraged to understand their “why” for being part of the organization and share their personal stories. Susan message in this fast-paced episode is one of inspiration and a reminder that fundraising can be a magical journey when it’s grounded in authentic connections and the stories that drive philanthropy.