DickersonBakker Blog

The Dirty Dozen of Fundraising That Hinder Your Success

There are various items that can hinder success in fundraising. But, in over 35 years as a consultant, I’ve identified 12 I call the “dirty dozen”.

  1. Lack of staff expertise.  Hiring people with no experience and then not providing training in the areas in which they are expected to be successful.
  2. Unwillingness to do #1.  I’ve met scores of VP’s and Directors of Development who are fine at public relations, but simply will find everything else to do except ask for the gift.
  3. Insufficient or improper budget.  One of the first places organizations cut budgets is in development (talk about penny wise and pound foolish). Or they don’t allocate enough funding to accomplish the unrealistic goals set by management.
  4. Lack of research.  The failure to spend time researching prospective donors, including their family, business, church, gifts to other organizations and “likes and dislikes” are common and leads to disastrous results.
  5. Failure to match projects with the prospective donors. People give to what they like and see as a solution to a need. But often fundraisers have project goals that don’t match the desires of the prospective donors. Then they wonder why the prospect doesn’t give or provides a small gift.
  6. No real plan.  Unfortunately, many organizations do a bunch of fundraising stuff rather than follow a coherent plan which can be presented to donors showing why their gifts are important to a positive end result.
  7. Lack of vision.  Most major donor prospects are people who have been involved in vision casting for their companies or self-owned businesses.  The lack of a clear fundraising vision says we aren’t sure just where we are going. Why would someone give to such a program?
  8. Board willing, but untrained.  Having Board members who are willing to assist in fundraising is great. But so many organizations have no fundraising training program for Board members – thus the results are often negative.
  9. Board unwilling.  Many organizations don’t insist on Board members being involved in fundraising prior to acceptance on the Board. Then they get upset when Board members will not engage in fund development.
  10. Lack of development systems.  Not being able to track donations, retain notes from meetings, research past giving and keep track of commitments are a few of the systems that must be in place for a coordinated fundraising effort.
  11. Lack of development services.  Delayed receipting, inability to respond quickly to questions due to the lack of records and no estate planning program are a few of the services that need to be at the heart of donor relations.
  12. Lack of prayer.  Not taking time to pray for donors, prospective donors and volunteers as well as the development staff, president and Board members puts an improper focus on what you’re trying to accomplish.  Your ultimate fundraising goal should always be to show people how they can minister to others through investments of God’s wealth over which they are stewards.

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