Six Bad Habits of Ineffective Fundraisers
When fundraisers are ineffective, it’s almost always because they are the victims of their own mental habits. These bad habits are more harmful than lack of resources, bad economic times or even stupidity. Conquer these habits, and you’ll raise a lot more money.
Bad Habit No. 1: Being ashamed of fundraising
It’s odd, but many professional fundraisers have an insidious belief that asking people for money is annoying, embarrassing or disrespectful.
This puts them in confusing territory, where they need their donors to fund vital programs — but they don’t want to admit it. That bends their fundraising messages into pretzel shapes that look something like this:
“Maybe you’d be interested in giving. It’s OK if you don’t give. We’re a very well-run organization, and we have many other sources of funding. You’re a small fish anyway, to be honest. But, you know, if you think of it, a gift would be a nice gesture.”
That’s an exaggeration, but it’s not far from how shame-based fundraising operates. Besides its basic dishonesty, this type of fundraising fails to respect the reality of donors and their gifts.
Donors want to be wanted. They need to be needed. They intend to make the world a better place. Coming to the rescue makes them happy. So if you need your donors, go ahead and tell them. Let them know the urgency and the stakes. Be direct. Don’t hide your need behind a mousy veil of pseudo-politeness.
If you’re burdened with an attitude that asking for money somehow gets in the way of a real relationship with donors, you’re missing an important fact: For nearly all donors, giving is the medium through which they relate to you and your cause. Their gifts are the way they translate their values into action.
Philosophical musings or high-level theory about the cause is beside the point for most donors. Giving is the main event. Asking is a great service. Be proud of it.