5 Quick & Dirty Solutions for Most Common Fundraising Mistakes

Fundraising efforts that flounder are more than disappointing. Nonprofits depend on donations to achieve their missions, and when expectations aren’t met, that goal is compromised. Most lackluster fundraising efforts can be attributed to five major mistakes, which can often be solved by taking another look at “how it’s always been done”.

Here are five quick and dirty fundraising tips for getting your develpment portfolio back on track:

Mistake 1: Using fundraising events ineffectively

Special events can be one of the most effective strategies for raising large amounts of money for a charity. But when done poorly, they can be waste of time and money. Events must be engaging, advertised early and well  in order to attract the kind of donors you are looking for.

The live/silent auction is a key way to raise funds, so be sure to use intriguing Travel Experiences to procure and cultivate new and existing donor relationships. Big-ticket auction items like these boost interest and have the potential to make much more money than cluttered tables filled with smaller items.

Mistake 2: Ignoring useful communication tools

A website, social media, blog templates — all important communication tools for growing a Nonprofit, but savvy organizations will look beyond the obvious. Cloud-based productivity tools like Dropbox (for storing and sharing files) or Google Drive (collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, etc.) are essential for collaborating between members of a committee, especially when everyone is spread out, on-the-go and operating from a mobile device.

Here at Winspire our Nonprofit customers us mySuitcase as a collaboration tool for selecting Travel Experiences and gathering feedback from their team while planning for an event. There is an endless list of free tools available to make collaboration with colleagues and the process of auction item procurement much easier.

Mistake 3: Underestimating the power of communication to donors

Fact: The majority of donors who give a gift and do not receive a proper follow-up will not give again. For this reason, Nonprofits should have a solid donor communication strategy in place. Not only do you need to properly convey gratitude for their generosity, but you must also conduct ongoing communication to keep your Nonprofit top of mind. Putting Experiential travel packages up for bid is the perfect excuse for communicating with donors both before an event (to promote the packages) and after (to sell packages multiple times and/or to reach patrons who were unable to attend the event).

Mistake 4: Cumbersome donor databases

Your donor database should be treated like gold — it is the foundation of all fundraising efforts. Cluttered and overly complicated systems can bring fundraising efforts to a halt and be a major strain in the donor retention process. Organize your system and keep information up-to-date. Then, use donor retention best practices to maintain communication.

Travel Experiences that are up for bid are a simple way to steward existing supporters. You can check in with donors prior to an event to gauge their interest in the items you are considering and follow up with donors who purchase travel packages to hear about their Experience.

Mistake 5: Zero financial investment internally

This might be a hard pill to swallow: it takes money to grow and build an organization’s reputation. When Nonprofits neglect this reality, it unfortunately puts limits on their potential. Putting reasonable amounts of money toward attracting and retaining good employees, event venue, advertising and procuring quality auction items is often rewarded with higher donations and increased brand recognition among key audiences.

Bottom line: “It takes money to make money” is a mantra that doesn’t only apply to the for-profit sector!

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Secure Better Auction Items!

A successful charity auction relies on your ability to get exciting and appealing items for your donors to bid on.

Download this Free eBook with tips for making auction item procurement more efficient, more effective and easier for your entire team.


Winspire Communications Director

About Ian Lauth

With an extensive background in marketing and design, Ian’s role at Winspire is to develop external communications, brand expansion and product delivery processes to help Nonprofits maximize their fundraising revenue.

Ian serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Winspire News, creating and managing blog content,  newsletters, eBooks and other resources for Nonprofit fundraising professionals. You can also find Ian on Google+.

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