Common Fundraising Mistakes to Avoid

Running a fundraising program is hard work. It requires commitment, resources, and a lot of effort. Through the course of running and organising fundraising events, mistakes are bound to happen, some of them trivial while some are considerably large that it has a huge impact on the organisation and its activities. Some costly mistakes, however, can be avoided given the right mindset and strategy. 

Avoiding costly mistakes will not only save one or two of your fundraising events but also your program as a whole. Here are some of the most common mistakes that fundraisers and non- profits commit that you can and should avoid. 

1. Failing to Build Relationships with Donors

Relationship building is vital to running fundraising especially when it concerns your donors. It should not be treated as a one-shot deal, but rather one that needs to be nurtured and cared for. Building donor relationship means regularly getting in touch with them, sending out thank you cards, and many others. It is imperative that you get in touch with your first-time donors after their first contribution. You can schedule some donor “thank you” phone calls periodically or get in touch with them through social media. 

2. Too Much Focus on One Time Donors

All donors are important, this is unquestionable. However, some fundraisers tend to provide more focus and attention to one time donors than they do for their long-term and recurring donors. Some may say that they are trying to commit the one-time donors into longer term, but this should not be an excuse to not providing recurring donors the due attention and effort they deserve.

3. Lacking Clear Funding Purpose

There is a difference between soliciting $10 to help reduce domestic violence in Africa and soliciting $10 to provide training to 1 social worker that will respond to domestic violence cases and be part of an intervention program. 

Though both are soliciting the same amount of money, the second one is more appealing as it states a clear view of the purpose of the fundraiser. Asking “so what?” is a common question from potential donors and you should be ready to answer it. 

Hence, when seeking out and engaging with potential donors, you have to have a clear perspective of the purpose of your fundraising. 

4. Not Measuring the Impact of the Cause

Some non-profits are unable to measure the difference that they make through their efforts and the money they raise. The inability to determine the effects of their efforts and where they allocate their resources prevents them from improving their performances. 

There are lots of reasons to measure social impact. This includes gathering stories and materials for marketing your efforts, getting feedback from programs and activities, and share information with other non-profits. 

Measuring your social impact is also great for attracting donors. New donors want to contribute to an organisation that is really making a difference. It motivates them to continue donating money when they get updated on where their money goes and what it has done. 

5. Asking Only for Money

Yes, fundraising is all about raising money and there is no reason to hide your intentions in your call of action. However, if your only engagement with your donors is only all about soliciting money, then you are risking your relationship with them. 

Be creative in engaging with them. It should not always be about money. Invite them to take part in the ownership of some of your initiatives.  And your communication plan should include various outreach activities targeting your donors. 

6. Poor Donation Processing System

Not having an excellent donation processing system can discourage large donations from new donors and can alienate your current clients. Giving donations should be easy and user- friendly for donors. You must invest in user-friendly and highly sophisticated donation processing system with all the features and options that make it a great experience for donors to contribute. 

7. Not Investing Enough for Fundraising Events

There is no overstating the importance of fundraising activities so you must allocate due investment to them. Do not settle for mediocre activities, be generous in your venues, productions, and activities and achieve the quality befitting the generosity of your donors. 

While it may sound like a good decision to underspend on overheard and allocate as much money to the cause, non-profits who are hesitant to spend on things that will allow the organisation to grow can stagnate and later on, regress. 

By avoiding these mistakes, you can protect your organisation and your cause in the long term and make a lasting difference. 

Robert Gaydon

Written by : Robert Gaydon

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