Six fundraising mistakes to avoid

Andrea McManus has learned a lot about fundraising, and she would like to help others so they don’t make the same mistakes she did.

McManus is president of the Development Group. In The NonProfit Times, she wrote about the six mistakes from which she learned important lessons:

  • Asking people to give to organizations. “People give to people,” she wrote. “They want to give to the people your mission serves.”
  • Sending out mass mailings to scores of potential corporate donors. “Much comes from few. Take the time to identify the top 10 who have some alignment with your mission and put most of your time there.”
  • Spending a lot of time trying to get high-profile individuals to give. “Wealth is not always obvious nor is it necessarily interested in your cause. Take a broader view that includes the many individuals with less, or less obvious, wealth who still have the means and the interest to support your mission.”
  • Focusing on the gift. “It’s not about the money. It’s about building the relationship. Build strong relationships with your donors.”
  • Seeing fundraising as a silo. “Fundraising is not a stand-alone activity.”
  • Being defensive or apologetic about fundraising. “Philanthropy is something to be proud of, and fundraising exists to enable philanthropy. Be proud of the work you do to help philanthropists as they use their resources to help others.”
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