Avoid these Mistakes when Fundraising

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When it comes to nonprofit organizations, it is imperative that you understand how impactful emotional appeal can benefit your fundraising campaigns. Just think about it. Why do you think donate to a particular cause or organization? Why in fact was it initially on their radar?

The answers to many of these questions lie in the case that people feel inherently content when they do some particular act of kindness. As a business leader and fundraising expert with over twenty plus years within the nonprofit and higher education fundraising sector, one of the biggest advice I give to my colleagues and friends is that if you want to spark change, you have to understand their perspectives. Many of these nonprofit organizations make the mistake and assume that the general public already understands the overarching problem that exists within today’s society. Because of this informational gap, their fundraising inherently fails to meet the intended numbers because they have inadvertently removed the emotional and informational impact that aligns with the overall brand identity of their mission.

To prevent you from making fundraising failure, I have highlighted three common mistakes organizations make when it comes to fundraising. Remember, emotions are a power thing. Leveraging that idea within your campaign will always showcase your goals and your mission for a better and brighter future.

Mistake: Assuming everyone already knows the problem

As much as we can think that everyone understands the social and civil injustice that is going on in the world, we have to look at the situation in the donor’s perspective. In their eyes, they can only scratch the surface. Many of these campaigns, especially when it comes to the language and tone of the movement, is usually tailored to those who are experts. As much as we want to showcase a professional knowledgeable image, we need to understand that the rest of the general public is not attuned what we know. Instead, begin tailoring your information in the most simplistic way possible. Highlight the various problems and your organization’s mission and goals to solve the problem and make the world a better place. By having this information tailored for them than for your peers, you will get a much-needed stronger response, especially when it comes to your fundraising.

Mistake: Ignoring the emotional appeal of your brand

Just because you are a nonprofit organization does not mean people understand the emotional appeal of your mission. In order to connect with your donors and supporters, your branding message should go beyond the shotgun approach. Instead, leverage the emotional appeal that can be a powerful component to your nonprofit brand. Go beyond the private sector branding concept of what is ‘appeal’ and ‘cool’ and focus back on the message. Any type of confusion can compromise future donors and supporters in advocating your message.

Mistake: Selling the brand than highlighting the impact

While various branding and marketing techniques are transferable from the entertainment and private sector to the nonprofit sector, you have to understand the dichotomy that exists between the two. For the entertainment and private sector, their goal is to sell a product in the most profitable way possible. As much as you can think that this approach can increase fundraising donors, you have to understand that, for a nonprofit, you are not selling an item. Instead, you are selling a mission; you are highlighting, educating, and emphasizing a specific problem and invoking your cardinal principles of how your organization is going to solve it. Because your brand is in itself just an idea, you want to make sure you are appealing to the emotions and ideas that the general public can relate to. For them, they know they are not going to use your product outside of topic of discussion. Because of this, you need to think of various fruitful ways that can appeal than the surface level of generosity. Show them that they are the key to a better future. Show them that they are the force for a better life. And most importantly, show them that the change for something greater than themselves.