8 reasons people don’t give to an organization

If you’re having trouble raising funds, you might be tempted to blame it on donors: They’re too uneducated. Too selfish. They don’t get it!

Blaming your donors is a lot like digging a hole: The more you do it the hard it is going to be to get out! Your attitude toward donors will get worse and worse, and you’ll be less and less able to actually connect with these excellent people.

So instead of blaming donors, look at yourself. Most fundraising failure is self-inflicted. That might be what’s making it hard for you.

The MarketSmart blog reveals a number of the more common reasons fundraisers struggle, at Why people won’t give you money:

  1. Being narcissistic. (Talking about yourself instead of focusing on the donor.
  2. Being braggadocios. (Acting as if your organization is the hero — not the donor.)
  3. Being impersonal. (Not connecting with the donor as an individual.)
  4. Being irrelevant. (Making your fundraising about your needs and interests, not the donor’s values.)
  5. Being unclear.
  6. Being snooty. (Being over-formal.)
  7. Being fake. (Robotically following your “brand” instead of being human.)
  8. Being inconsiderate. (Sending hard-to-read materials, having a difficult website, not saying thank you…)


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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.

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