Here's one of those important points that's so easy to forget, from The Far Edge of Promise blog, at Giving Through:
Do you ask your donors to give to your institution? Or... Do you ask your donors to give through your institution to your students, patients, clients, etc?
That's pretty much the main question you should ask yourself about your fundraising.
Donors don't give because of who you are. Most of them don't give a rip about your wonderful organization. They like what you enable them to do. They'd walk away from you in two seconds if a better way for them to accomplish their good deeds came along.
When you make it all about you, you miss the point. Successful fundraising is about the donor and what she'll accomplish when she gives.
It's easy to wander away from this and start building incredible cases for giving that are built on the premise that our organization is utterly great. It doesn't work. People aren't giving to you.