Some people believe fundraising is a simple and straightforward job. “It’s just a numbers game,” they say. “If you send out enough flyers asking for support, eventually some of the recipients will give.” In reality, fundraising can be very challenging and stressful, which probably explains why so many organizations struggle with high turnover with their fundraising staff as well as continuous financial struggles. If your fundraising methods aren’t working, this article is for you.
Here are 8 organizational pitfalls that could make your fundraising efforts ineffective:
1. No clear mission
If you can’t clearly communicate to a potential donor what your goals are and how you're going to use their money to accomplish them, your fundraising efforts will not be successful.
2. Ineffective executive leadership
When the leadership doesn’t have the skills, experience, or capacity to effectively run the organization, every aspect of the company will suffer—especially the finances.
3. Invisible board influence
When the board stops functioning like a group of advisors and instead starts controlling all aspects of the organization, you will lose trust from your employees as well as your donors.
4. Poor staff training
Few things are more crucial to an organization’s survival than ensuring every team member catches the vision, understands the mission, and has the knowledge and training to accomplish both.
5. Negative public image
No, not all publicity is good publicity. Keeping your books, leadership, and methodology above criticism will help donors continue to trust and support you. If there ever is a mistake or failure, own it and make it right!
6. Limited resources
It takes resources to get resources. This isn’t just true of money. It also applies to having the right personnel, knowledge and skills, advisors, and more.
7. Few volunteers
Finding people who support your mission cannot just be limited to donors. Volunteers often are the difference between nonprofits that fail and those that succeed.
8. No future vision
The donors who will benefit your organization the most are the ones who see themselves as investors, not just givers. They want your organization to grow and thrive. But these types of donors need more than a list of expenses from you that you need to pay for. They want to know where you’re going. What’s next? What are your plans for expansion? Work hard to answer these questions before they are asked.
So, What Does It Take For Your Fundraising Efforts To Be Successful?
Essentially, fundraising is helping donors connect their heart’s passion with a cause or project that they care about deeply. It takes a well-designed effort and a tremendous time commitment to accomplish this task. There is an art to fundraising just like any other successful business discipline, which often takes years to develop.
Here are 8 vital qualities and characteristics one must possess to fundraise successfully for their nonprofit:
1. Teachable spirit
The most successful people are often the most humble and teachable. Always be willing to humbly receive feedback about your fundraising efforts, and your organization will reap the rewards.
2. Excellent communicator
Donors won’t catch the vision if you can’t clearly communicate it. Work hard to make your mission compelling, memorable, and simple.
3. Acute listener
A good fundraiser doesn’t just explain their organization’s needs. They listen to the desires of their donors and help them feel like they’re a part of the mission.
4. Trustworthy & Honest
More than anything, your donors have to be confident that they can trust you no matter what. Communicate your organization’s needs, methods, and even shortcomings as clearly and honestly as possible.
5. Discerning mentality
Having the ability to read people is highly beneficial when it comes to fundraising.
Few people are willing to just hand over their wallets the first time they meet you. You need to be willing to spend time with them, answering their questions and doing whatever you can to make them confident that supporting your nonprofit is a good decision.
Fundraising isn’t just about finding donors to serve you. It’s also about serving them. Seek to understand their needs and desires. If you can empathize with their needs, they will often return the gesture.
8. Honoring donor relationships
Finding new donors is always challenging. It is far more profitable to invest time and effort into keeping the donors you have than finding new ones. Provide exceptional customer service to your supporters, make them feel like part of the team, and they will be dedicated to your organization for years to come.
Need Help Fundraising?
The SourceFunding, LLC staff embraces these essential qualities and characteristics. Our team stands ready to assist any organization with their fundraising project. Our experience in organizational development will help you identify and address any weak spots in your fundraising efforts as well as your entire nonprofit organization.
We bring a combined 200+ years of experience in major gift acquisition and capital campaign management, grant writing applications, and securing of SBA loans and refinancing plans to the marketplace. Contact us and let us help make your dreams a reality!