Tag Archives: Fundraising Challenges

More Hidden Fundraising Challenges

fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, fundraising challenges, donor relations, fundraising best practices, nonprofits, Not all fundraising challenges lie in the actions – or lack of action – by donors, board members, staff and volunteers. Some are hidden in plain sight. Consider the following.

The will to fundraise. If you don’t want to fundraise, don’t make it a priority, and don’t invest time and money in fundraising, chances are you don’t have the will to fundraise. Will and willingness are related, but not the same. Willingness is an attitude: will is the application of willingness. It is evident in the actions you take and don’t take. Do you visit with people in person? Do you ask for financial and in-kind support? Are you building a corps of fundraising volunteers, or do you try to do it yourself when you have the time?

Overcoming the business-as-usual mentality. Fundraising is competitive. You have to constantly lead with your uniqueness while fulfilling your mission and understanding the needs and concerns of donors and funders. You can’t go on autopilot. Take time to consider where your support lies, where it could lie, and how to test your supposition. Take small risks, evaluate the results, and keep innovating.

Do you know your marketplace? Fundraising is all about people. Do you know the people in your community? Do you know the general attitude of the community towards your nonprofit? Do they like you? Do they care about your mission? Do they trust your leadership to use donated and invested funds with efficiency and efficacy? Can you identify emerging, unmet needs and make a difference without indulging in “mission creep?”

Mediocrity. Honestly, is your organization stellar, mediocre, or just getting by? Sometimes an organization has been doing things so long, and dealing with contracting revenue for too long that mediocrity becomes the norm. Take a close look at operations and attitudes with the goal of discerning if there’s a better way to conduct business. While your organization may need money, need isn’t necessarily a philanthropic motivator. Service, innovation and accountability are the new norms.

Measuring and communicating your impact. These are directly related to accountability. You have to answer the question: how does my money make a difference? Take a moment to identify the measurements you will deploy and build them into your programming. Review your measures and outcomes. Use them to refine your work. Communicate impact consistently – people care more about impact than need.

Benefits and opportunities. Are you building a circle of reciprocity? What benefits – tangible and intangible – can you offer donors, volunteers and staff? What opportunities do you offer that increase your value and offer meaning to others? Don’t take people and relationships for granted. Demonstrate your gratitude in ways that incentivize giving and involvement.

You can succeed: your community needs you to succeed. Keep up the good work.

Read Hidden Fundraising Challenges Part One

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Hidden Fundraising Challenges

Fundraising Challenges, fundraising, FUNdraising Good Times, fundraising challenges, donor fatigue, nonprofitsYou can’t see what you can’t see. There may be some challenges facing your nonprofit that you’re not be aware of. They are insidious and sometimes deadly. Taking a close look at “what’s really going on” may refocus your energy and resources, and rescue your fundraising.

Here’s some background. Nonprofit organizations and institutions play a key role in communities across the country. Healthcare, education, advocacy, homeless services, domestic violence prevention, athletics, the opera, symphony and theatres are just a few of the ways in which they add to our collective life. The rewards from such work are many. And, unfortunately, challenges abound. Top ones include board involvement, staffing, money, resources, exposure and awareness, and volunteer involvement. These are real. And at the same time, for some organizations the challenges are actually a little deeper. They lie in what you can’t see. And they inform or exacerbate the visible ones.

Lack of urgency and excitement. It’s hard to raise money and engage volunteers without a sense of urgency and excitement. Have you made the case to a potential donor regarding why it is important to support the priorities of your nonprofit today, and not tomorrow? Have you created a mechanism for generating enthusiasm in giving? Are you actively competing for the philanthropic dollar or waiting for it to come your way? You need an infectious excitement that is communicated verbally, in writing and electronically. Put fundraising at the top of your list each day.

Duplication of services. You may be 100% committed to your organization, its services or advocacy, and the people it serves. But, are you the only game in town, or are there a multitude of organizations doing similar work? When there are too many organizations providing comparable services it can be difficult for donors and funders to understand why they should fund your organization over a similar one. You may not get funded. Or you – and your like-minded nonprofits – may be splitting a pool of funds with the result being that no one raises enough money to effectively advance their mission. If duplication of services is an issue for your nonprofit, you may want to consider the unthinkable: merging, or refining/changing your mission.

Repeatedly soliciting the same donors and funders. This is an “under the radar” challenge that sometimes isn’t even identified as such. The positive spin is: we have a few committed donors who consistently support us. That may be true, but how long will it last? Are they providing enough funding, or is your organization cutting staff and services in order to operate? What if donors suddenly changed their giving? Donor retention isn’t a given: things change. Don’t put your nonprofit at risk: broaden your fundraising.

Next week we will cover more.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.