Fundraising mistakes: where monsters be

If you watch the same scary movie more than once, you may find yourself yelling at the screen, Don’t go in that dark room! The monster is in there! He’s going to eat you!

Monster

To no avail. He goes into the room and things don’t go well. Every time you watch it.

Working with a lot of nonprofit organizations can be like that. You see them walk into dark, monster-filled rooms over and over. The difference from the movies is, they can hear you when you warn them. That doesn’t mean they listen, though.

Tom Harrison knows about this, and writes about it in FundRaising Success magazine: 15 Mistakes That Have Already Been Made for You.

Here are some of them, the ones I find most vexing and common:


  • Cutting acquisition quantity to improve fundraising ratios but destroying your future revenue stream in the process.
  • Lazy cultivation. (Failing to thank donors, stay relevant to them, and use your resources wisely on them.)
  • Letting brand dictate fundraising messages instead of mandating that brand reinforce fundraising messages.
  • Being seduced by a consultant who claims to be able to acquire “higher value donors” and ending up getting too few donors to sustain your organization.
  • Chasing blindly after the next big thing.
  • Forgetting to test.
  • Believing that you are the target audience.
  • Being afraid to fire someone.

These things happen with shocking regularity. Again and again and again. But, as Tom says, you don’t have to make the mistake. The outcomes are predictable: The monster has very sharp claws and very big teeth!


Comments

2 responses to “Fundraising mistakes: where monsters be”

  1. Richard Freedlund Avatar
    Richard Freedlund

    Jeff,
    They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This can be applied to organizations doing the same thing with their fundraising programs. You made some excellent points today.

  2. Richard Freedlund Avatar
    Richard Freedlund

    Jeff,
    They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This can be applied to organizations doing the same thing with their fundraising programs. You made some excellent points today.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.