3 Reasons Your Nonprofit Isn’t Growing
For every nonprofit receiving a donation, there are myriad nonprofits with similar missions that have missed out on that gift. Here are the three things that you don’t realize are killing your growth:
1. You Make It Hard to Donate
This should really be the first commandment of fundraising, but it’s often the most overlooked. You’ve got your brand kit looking flawless, your calendar filled with events, a development team looking for all the best ways to get in front of potential donors, and then they show up to your site and can’t give the way they’d like to.
Our world is all about setting up nonprofits to accept Bitcoin, but there are a million other ways to give. Bitcoin, stocks, Apple Pay, Venmo, Cashapp, Google Pay, Zelle and myriad other apps and cryptocurrencies. Some of these modes have unique tax incentives, meaning if you don’t accept them then you’re cutting out the majority of those donors from supporting you. But even for the ones that don’t, if you make it harder for people to give you money, expect to get less of it.
If this is a blind spot for your organization, drop whatever else you’re doing and fix it.
2. You’re Outdated
This is often an obnoxious trope where nonprofits self-flagellate over how outdated they are, and then they bring in a fleet of interns to improve their social media strategy, posting TikToks and trying to look cooler. Don’t do that. The real reason an aging staff should concern your organization has nothing to do with how hip you appear. The reason this should concern you is because if you have an aging staff, you’re almost certainly completely unaware of what the internet has to offer, a perimeter of ignorance extending far beyond the uncharted territories of Instagram and Snapchat.
When you hire a Millennial or Gen Z staffer, make sure you leverage them properly as a guide of digital frontiers. There are free fundraising platforms you’ve never heard of, nonprofit aggregators that get you exposure, tools that streamline your stewardship process, applications that make collaborative work straightforward and simple. In other words, there are a million things you’re doing wrong because you don’t know about something better. Hiring younger staff fixes that.
3. You’re Not the Best Option for Donors, Right?
Ever find yourself making pathos and ethos appeals to your audience while completely ignoring the role of logos in winning them over? Then you might want to ask your doctor about “logically sound calls to action.” This is another incredibly common issue in the nonprofit industry that is standing between so many great organizations and a parabolic trajectory. There is an epistemological trap that sucks in a lot of nonprofits when they look to the world’s largest charities for guidance on best practices. Most of the time this works out, as giant nonprofits tend to know a thing or two about attracting donations. Sometimes, however, we end up with an association fallacy, where all nonprofits start copying those behaviors that only work for the larger nonprofits.
One such example is the absence of logos in nonprofit appeals. The two main areas this occurs are a) failing to explain why your problem needs solving (not everyone thinks about your cause everyday) and b) failing to explain why a donation to your organization is superior to alternatives. Stop starting the conversation in the middle of the issue, and start discussing your impact like whoever’s reading it is going to go onto Google and look for a better option. Connecting these two logical loose ends will make for content that will sway audiences with more limited understanding of your work and convince the die hards (often major donors) that a dollar spent with you not only makes a good impact, but the best impact.
That’s all I got for ya. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss, debate or learn more about, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.
Pat Duffy, co-founder of The Giving Block, began as a federal consultant for pharmaceutical companies, focused on collaboration with nonprofits. He then shifted to the nonprofit sector, focusing on executive leadership and fundraising for voluntary health associations. Merging his nonprofit experience and passion for Bitcoin trading, The Giving Block was born, creating the turnkey solution for cryptocurrency donations now used by charities around the world.