The Top 6 Fundraising Mistakes Small Non-profits Make (and how to fix them)

1. You believe that fundraising is only about asking for money

Would you believe that ramping up your fundraising is as simple as picking up the phone to chat with a donor for 5 minutes? Does this sound too simple? Well, it works!

You don’t need a communications team or any fancy systems to call a donor and update them on a project they helped to fund. You could say something like, “A few months ago you made a donation to this project and here’s where that project stands today…”

If you don’t reach out to your donors between asks and donors are only hearing from you when you need something, you may be unintentionally alienating them.

Your fundraising efforts should be focusing on building relationships. And this is done by staying in touch with your donors in between asks. Newsletters are great, but here’s a simple tip: A 5 minute phone chat or a short impact story emailed quarterly shows donors that you appreciate their giving and that their money is being put to good use. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be meaningful. And it has to be done.

2. You think you’re too small for major gifts

A lot of nonprofits say they can’t implement a major gifts program because they don’t know anyone who can give a lot of money.

Think of Major Gifts as a strategy to bring in gifts that are significant to your organization. For some charities, $500 or $1,000 was a major gift.

You need to start where you are. If you need help, consider The Good Partnership’s Free 5-day challenge – Operation Major Gifts.

3. You compare your small nonprofit to large ones

Often times the leadership of small organizations think that a big gala will work well for their charity because some other big organization is doing it.

Well, this is NOT the case.

Think about who your current donors are and where your organization has relationships and start there. Even better, reach out to those people and ask for their feedback on how to improve your fundraising. They will tell you how to move forward.

4. You think you need a system in place before you can get started

People think there’s a big, complicated system that needs to be transplanted from “out there” into their organization before they can begin.

You can adapt what you already have to begin reaching out to your donors in intentional ways. Don’t have a direct mail program? Just pick up the phone. Don’t have a big event sponsor? Just host an open house. It’s about starting where you are and building on your success.

5. You think one person can solve all your fundraising problems

Does this sound familiar? “We just need someone on our board who understands fundraising and then we won’t have to think about it anymore.”

Whether it’s a hired professional, a board member or your executive director, no one person can meet all of your fundraising challenges without support from the entire organization.

6. “We don’t have time for fundraising!”

“I work too many hours,” “I have too many obligations,” “there are too many fires to put out,” “I’m just a volunteer,”….

It doesn’t take as much time as you think. You just need to know what to do with your time and commit to getting it done.

Contributed by: The Good Partnership

Sign up for Operation Major Gifts here.

 

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