We understand that as a nonprofit, you want and need to receive donations in order to thrive. Going about asking for donations the right way will help you the most in the long run. Here are some common fundraising errors and how you can avoid them:
- Lacking Patience
If you reach out to an individual or a group for a donation and they don’t immediately say yes, don’t write them off. You need to build relationships with donors, and that takes time.
- Insufficient Planning
You need to spend money to make money. If you don’t plan for all the needed components on the front end of an initiative, you could miss opportunities to actually raise needed funds.
- Waiting Until the Last Minute
Don’t wait until the last minute to look for sponsors. Corporate sponsorships can take months to land. They often have strict enrollment periods for organizations looking to apply for a grant.
- Communicating Poorly
Communicate your message clearly. Let the folks you’re seeking donations from know exactly what you need and what you’ll do with it. Also, respond to their communications. Don’t ignore emails or voice mails.
- Putting All Eggs into One Basket
Don’t build your budget around just one funder. You need to build diverse funding sources from the start. If you rely on one source and it dries up, you could be in serious financial trouble.
- Being the 'Lone Ranger'
Make sure you have a strong network to provide multiple opportunities for funding and problem solving. Capitalize on the knowledge and solutions that others are willing to provide for you.
- Trying to Appeal to Every Funder
Your mission and focus won’t always match up perfectly with every funder. Don’t try to force a relationship with someone whose focus is not the same as yours. Use your available resources to pursue the donors whose focus aligns more closely with yours.
- Not Doing Your Due Diligence
Research potential funders before reaching out. Take the time to understand their expectations and restrictions so you can see how they align with your own organizational priorities and capacities.
- Asking for More Part Way Through the Project
Be sure you do research on what you actually need for your project. Don’t say the price for a project is X and then come back and ask for more aid if your prices increase. Organizations lose donors over this.
- Taking Your Foot Off the Pedal
Always think ahead. Your work isn't over after the first year or the first funding cycle. You need to think about your needs for several years out.
- Ignoring the Importance Of Experience
Invest the resources for an experienced fundraiser, especially if you’re a new organization. Fundraising isn’t always easy, and having someone with experience will help you forge a path to great relationships with donors.
- Focusing on Pitches Instead Of Relationships
The most important goal is to learn, build understanding, and develop trust with potential donors. Do not start pitching right away. Ask open-ended questions. This will lead to a better proposal, ultimately leading to more donations.
- Thinking Everybody Loves Your Cause
Just because you are enamored with your cause, not everyone is. Thinking otherwise can make a fundraiser fall flat. Before launching an event, make sure you know your target audience, and then present them with a clear message that will show them how valuable their investment will be.