Getting Started, fundraising myths, annual appeal, end-of-year giving

10 Fundraising Myths...Busted

Here at Kindest, we know just how "scary" fundraising can seem to our clients. With so many myths swirling around fundraising- we  want to ensure our clients BUST these Myths and make you rockstar fundraisers. Read on to find ten fundraising Myths Busted!

Myth #1 -You need to spend a significant time applying for grants

While grant work has its place in development, it's not always right for every non-profit. Grant work is time-consuming, takes patience and hours of research. Many times, all the precious hours spent working on grants—lead to rejections because you don't quite have the history or data to back up the need for funding.  Instead, spend your time building solid relationships—it's not uncommon to see non-profits put together a fantastic peer-to-peer fundraiser in a short amount of time. Money raised further opens you up to new donors; unrestricted funds can go towards your programs NOW.

Myth #2- People hate being asked for money.

Fun fact, charitable giving in 2019 was up 5.1% from 2018, and Americans gave $449.64 billion in 20191! While it can be intimidating to ask for donations—eliminate this thinking RIGHT NOW! The truth is people LOVE to give to organizations they care about, but you need to make the ask.

Myth #3 - Your existing network is enough.

This belief is typical in first-time fundraisers; you've done the work and now have a stable network in place; you think, "My work is done," right? While you might be able to get one or two programs funded in the short term, fundraising is mostly a numbers game. You need to continually be on the search for growing your donor database and looking to the future.

Myth #4It's a waste of time to build relationships with gatekeepers/entry-level staff.

The truth is these gatekeepers are the ones who YOU should be building relationships with. High-level executives have busy schedules, and typically all of them are hard to reach. Gatekeepers/entry-level staff generally have more time to spend with you & have conversations about your organization.  Many times, once you've built a relationship with them – this leads to a warm introduction to executives.

Myth #5- Most non-profits raise their money through foundations and corporations.

Did you know that in 2019, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $309.66 billion or 69% of total giving1? The trend has continued in four of the last five years, MYTH BUSTED! Focusing on individual giving is imperative in having a successful fundraising plan.

Myth #6- Fundraising won't take long.

The truth is fundraising happens over time with a laid-out plan to reach success. Campaigns don't happen overnight; they take work. Non-profits must do the necessary planning to ensure the best fundraising outcomes. This includes priming your audience for your ask, carefully crafting a timeline of communications, and spending time cultivating donor relationships.

Myth #7-Board members are volunteers; therefore, they should not have financial obligations.

Board members should have a buy-in into your organization from the get-go and hold legal responsibility for your non-profit. It's so common to see non-profits stray from asking their board members to participate in fundraising.  If a board member who has a substantial buy-in doesn't support your non-profit, then why should anybody else? Often this means fundraisers need to help guide board members with specific strategies and guidance on how fundraising works- so they can support you.

Myth #8-You should focus on quantity over quality when it comes to communications.

We all know social media is one big puzzle of algorithms & metrics that are always changing.  The truth is no matter the algorithm, one thing is still consistent - quality content will always win over numbers-driven strategy.  Focus on creating compelling and impactful stories. Use these quality stories on social media, newsletters, etc. and understand that consistency is vital.

Myth #9- We should stick to what's worked before.

You have all probably heard the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" when it comes to fundraising.  While it's great to look at what's worked effectively for fundraising, non-profits often make the mistake of becoming set in their ways and not changing with donor trends. Donors drive fundraising, so it's your job as a fundraiser to ensure the fundraising techniques align with donor trends continually. For example, direct mail has once been the gold standard of fundraising for end-of-year appeals, but we now know adding or transitioning to a digital end-of-year request is something donors want.

Myth #10- Fundraising is impossible!

First of all, let's remove the negative thought that fundraising is impossible & throw out the excuses. Fundraising is NOT impossible- in fact, with the right plan & hard work, fundraising is FUN! Fundraising is not raising money; it's raising friends. Like all relationships, we need to continually cultivate our relationships; after all, there is no magic wand or spell when fundraising.


1 Giving USA 2020

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About Denise Wang-Kline

CEO at Kindest
  • Tiburon, California
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