4 Reasons Why Donors Don't Give
One of the most crucial parts of nonprofit fundraising is finding donors. If a donor doesn't give, your organization can't adequately serve its mission. But creating a potential donor portfolio isn't always easy. In fact, it's something that could be pretty difficult, and I'm not talking about soliciting a billionaire philanthropist. I'm just referring to mid-level and general gift donors.
First, you must attract donors to your cause — typically done through marketing. But nonprofits don't usually sell products or services to their “buyers” aka donors. Instead, they sell the idea of making someone else or something better for the common good. This could be in the form of providing high-quality education, health services, the environment or a host of other missions.
While there are differences in how we treat major and general gift donors, they're still motivated by a mission and the relationship a nonprofit creates and nurtures with them — assuming they care about the mission.
Why Donors Give?
Think of it. Donors give because they have a personal connection or interest in your nonprofit. Perhaps donors experienced cancer or someone they love suffered it. As a result, they're moved to support your cause if you provide the programs to make peoples' lives better.
Ultimately, a donor has to feel a reason — starting with emotion and then intellect — for supporting your organization. During my career, I heard many nonprofit leaders explain what a tremendous and impactful nonprofit they lead, so this person or that person should want to support it.
Well, that’s not how it works — even if people have the money. There has to be a reason to give that matters to each donor. The donor has to have a personal interest and inclination toward the mission.
Why Donors Don't Give to Your Nonprofit?
If you want to continue operating, it's important to have donors. Without them, accomplishing your mission is nearly impossible. And that's one of the primary reasons why talented fundraisers are always in short supply. Still, there are various reasons why people might not want to donate to your nonprofit.
1. They Have No History With Your Organization
Prospects who don't connect to you or what you do might not feel like giving. It's crucial to establish a personal connection with your donors. If a donor doesn't know anything about your organization, what it does and doesn’t feel a connection, the donor won’t donate — no matter how great the mission is.
One way to make a donor more familiar with your organization is by raising brand awareness. Your community also needs to know how they can get involved. As a result, you should share stories of your work's impact and how donations help. Sharing this information allows donors to connect to your organization on a deeper level.
2. They Think You're Too Small
Donors perceive that small charities can't make a big difference, and they'll be gone soon anyway. This is a considerable deterrent for donors who want to give to an organization with long-term impact. This is why it’s vital to build institutional capacity. So, what does that mean?
It means that you first need to begin with your fundraising team or the person primarily responsible for fundraising. The reality is that you can’t have any programs if you don’t have money. So, you need to hire talent that knows how to raise money. And remember, professionals have the skills to raise funds from individuals.
3. You're Not in The Donor’s Area
Some people only care about funding a program in their local community. Although you could have an international presence or mission, some donors might not support national or international programs. Therefore, if you have a local presence, you need to make it a point to be clear about it — as well as your global footprint.
If you happen not to have any local presence, that's fine. Just move on and find donors who want to support a cause such as yours. Again, you have to remember that one of the primary motivating forces for donors is their personal interests, and your organization may or may not fill that need.
4. You're Not Protecting The Donor’s Interests
Protecting your donors' interests is crucial to maintaining trust. Data protection and security are a priority for many people when deciding whether or not to donate. Therefore, your organization should take steps to ensure that donor information is protected.
Data breaches are on the rise, but with so many ways to protect the information, it's not impossible to keep data safe. If you're concerned about how other nonprofits handle donor data, find experts in the field.
Nonprofits are vital to the backbone of our society, but, for many organizations, donations can be challenging to acquire. Whether you're just starting or have been in the business for a while, there are many reasons why donors may not give to your nonprofit. These reasons are the most common ones, but they may not be the only ones. It's essential to be aware of these reasons to take steps to maximize donations and make it more likely that people will give to your organization.
When thinking of your donor prospects, here are a few final tips:
- Know your donor.
- Stay up-to-date with donors' interests.
- Find out who your natural donors are and make sure they know about your work.
- Find out why donors don't give to your nonprofit.
- Use tech to help create a persona of your best possible donor
- Don't give up!
Paul D’Alessandro, J.D., CFRE, is a vice president at Innovest Portfolio Solutions. He is also the founder of High Impact Nonprofit Advisors (HNA), and D’Alessandro Inc. (DAI), which is a fundraising and strategic management consulting company. With more than 30 years of experience in the philanthropic sector, he’s the author of “The Future of Fundraising: How Philanthropy’s Future is Here with Donors Dictating the Terms.”
He has worked with hundreds of nonprofits to raise more than $1 billion dollars for his clients in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, as a nonprofit and business expert — who is also a practicing attorney — Paul has worked with high-level global philanthropists, vetting and negotiating their strategic gifts to charitable causes. Paul understands that today’s environment requires innovation and fresh thinking, which is why he launched HNA to train and coach leaders who want to make a difference in the world.