I Hate Fundraising When…

Tis the holiday season! As winter approaches, nonprofit solicitations are swirling around me faster than snowflakes in a December blizzard.

Though I’m no Scrooge, I’ll admit that I hate fundraising when it is…

  1. Not relevant. The fact that you need money is not my problem. You won’t get a contribution from me by telling me how desperate you are. My advice: Make your case by explaining how my world will be a better place when I give to your cause.
  2. Based upon guilt or fear. If your cause is worthy of my support, don’t play mind games to manipulate my behavior. My advice: Make me feel smarter by investing in your organization.
  3. Not differentiating. Every nonprofit is aggressively raising money, especially this time of the year. Unless you can show me how your cause is the best investment in things I care about, you’re just making noise in an already noisy world. My advice: Focus on the unique niche that only you can fill.
  4. Coerced. If I’m forced to give, you may achieve a short-term result. Trust me, though:  I’ll forever resent being strong-armed and I will look for ways to distance myself from your organization at the earliest opportunity. My advice: Give me a choice and invite me to voluntarily join your team.
  5. Treated as an end objective. Fundraising is a means to an end. It’s purpose is to help an organization have adequate resources to fulfill its mission. A nonprofit does not exist to raise money, but rather it raises money so it can continue to exist. My advice: Talk more about your mission and less about how much money you need.
  6. More interested in my money than in me. If we don’t have a relationship, then I’m probably not going to give. Any farmer knows you cannot reap a harvest until you’ve planted the seed, nurtured the crop and waited patiently for nature to take its course. My advice: Give me ways to make philanthropy a natural expression of my relationship with your organization.

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2 Responses to I Hate Fundraising When…

  1. “A nonprofit does not exist to raise money, but rather it raises money so it can continue to exist.” I love this quote – it’s quite profound and so true. It’s always a fine line to walk when you bring fundraising & money into the mix. I’m not sure I’ve found that fine line just yet, but you’ve definitely given me a lot to think about with this quote and your entire message. Any chance you would be willing to weigh in on some organizations you think are fundraising effectively and hitting on some of the key areas you discussed?

    • Duane Hallock says:

      Meggan, thank you for your comment. The nonprofit world is a better place since you began working at the American Cancer Society earlier this year. We are all better off because you are willing to share your talents in a meaningful and productive way.

      Let me give some thought to your challenge to give a shout out to organizations that are doing a great job of fundraising. I’d also challenge other readers to weigh in.

      I will say this: Here are the American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City, we are doing things right and moving towards doing things even better. I’m proud that my friend Patrick Sallee has recently begun working as the Director of Development. He and I make a great marketing/fundraising team because we both have a similar vision and are pulling in the same direction. Stay tuned!

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