Putting Donors at the Center of Your Thinking Can Cure an Ailing Fundraising Program
- Weak fundraising, where your lack of specificity fails to motivate donors.
- Misleading fundraising, where specificity of any kind can give a false impression of where their money is going.
In either case, your failure to empower your donors will cause them to seek other places to give. And sooner or later, they'll find nonprofits that have had their Malignant Accountants removed and are able to give donors choice.
Accountants are quick to point out the danger of giving donors power: Donors might overfund certain programs and leave others short of funds. That's a real possibility — one your organization needs to face. But who should help you solve it? Yes, your accountants. Accountants are generally smart people who can help you solve sticky problems such as this. Sadly, far too many of them have chosen an easy solution that locks out donors.
You need accountants who will bite the bullet and put the money where the donors want it. More and more donors are demanding this power.
Go ahead. Visit any random nonprofit Web site and try to give online. Unless you happen to hit one of the rare sites that practices excellent online fundraising (there are a few), you'll find Web Blockage — things that make it hard for donors to donate:
- Donation pages that have little or no info about the gift. (In essence, blank reply devices.)
- Ultra-long forms as the first step in giving.
- Unclear instructions.
- Gift engines that force donors to register even for the privilege of seeing the donation page.
Donation pages around the Web are a rogue's gallery of donation-stopping techno-follies like these and others. These Web Blockages are costing their owners revenue. Worse, they're failing to serve donors by making it hard for them to do what they came to you to do.
The record level of online giving that followed last December's tsunami disaster showed us that the Web is a maturing medium — and the medium of choice for a growing number of donors.