4 Fundraising Questions I Can't Answer
3. In today's environment, how can nonprofit organizations build for the future? Legislation, regulation and accepted practices are squeezing NPOs on the one side while donors demanding more effectiveness and less overhead are squeezing just as hard on the other side. Ignoring these external factors in hopes that they will just go away is naïve. For example, Congress continues to argue about reducing or eliminating the tax deduction for charitable giving for some tax payers. Yes, I know the argument: Donors give for purely altruistic reasons; they believe in your mission. But why do so many wait until Dec. 30 or 31 to give if tax deductions aren't even a slight consideration? Knowing what's brewing in terms of external forces that could impact your organization isn't just a job for lobbyists and lawyers — fundraisers who hope to stay a step ahead need to pay attention, too.
4. How much time is expended (wasted) gathering information that isn't being acted on? I recently heard about one nonprofit that is seriously researching 30+ firms to deliver a possible service. Other fundraisers invest their time (and vendors' time) in exploring options that they know they will never really do — all in the name of due diligence. This is not a personal whine session. I just hate seeing so much time spent on the peripheral things instead of on getting to know current donors and building a deeper relationship; making sure your gift acknowledgment program is the best it can be in terms of meeting your donors' expectations; focusing on strategizing for your present donor, your past donor and your potential donor — in short, staying focused on the donor who is the engine that drives fundraising success.
This old dog likes to think she knows a lot; after all, I've been in fundraising for more than 35 years. But it's always changing — not just because of technology, but also because we depend on people, and people are not always predictable. What question or questions related to fundraising do you wish you had an answer for?
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.