Overcoming common fundraising hurdles

When soliciting donors for financial contributions, there are a number of challenges for nonprofits to overcome.
Date Published
10/23/2014

Nonprofit fundraising can be challenging. There are a number of hurdles that a charitable organization must overcome to gain a financial contribution from a donor on either a one-time or continual basis. A recent article from The Daily News, a publication based in Memphis, Tennessee, outlined several distinct obstacles that can stand in the way of a 501(c)(3) group garnering enough support to achieve its foundational goals.

Arguably, the most noteworthy challenge is operating in the same sector as another organization. This is problematic for several reasons. The biggest is the fact that a donor may have a difficult time deciding where to lend his or her financial support. When multiple charities are established for causes such as feeding the homeless or providing services for women and children, it can be tough for contributors to differentiate between them. This can result in an organization receiving no funding at all, or worse still, donations being so widespread that charities find it difficult to help those in need, The Daily News wrote.

Another challenge listed by the publication is the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the nonprofit when soliciting donors for contributions. If a charity isn’t passionate about serving and helping others and has no sense of urgency associated with its fundraising efforts, it can be difficult to convince a potential donor to lend their financial support. The Daily News stated that is important for a charitable organization to invoke urgency and excitement in all of its communications with donors to encourage them to give. This must be done daily, not just when donations are needed.

The importance of storytelling to overcome fundraising challenges
There are a number of reasons that will compel an individual to give money to a nonprofit. Some may have a personal connection to a cause, while others may donate solely because they feel an obligation to do so. However, one of the best ways to increase donations and clear some of the hurdles listed above is to employ good storytelling techniques.

These can be done in either a written or visual format, but it’s important for a 501(c)(3) organization to convince donors to give financial gifts in the most compelling manner. A recent article from Silicon Prairie News, an outlet based in Omaha, recently broached this very topic. One of the suggestions made by the newspaper is for nonprofits to leverage the power of technology to disseminate information to donors. Today, people are more digitally engaged than ever. There are literally millions of individuals all over the world who use computers, tablets and smartphones on a daily basis.

This is advantageous because this kind of behavior allows a nonprofit to reach a wide range of people with almost minimal effort. For example, using social media to spread a story about why a charity needs financial support is a sound strategy. With popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter that have large user bases that people access on a daily basis, a nonprofit can take advantage of these channels by casting a wide net and see an increased amount of financial support that is greater than deploying a direct mail or email marketing campaign.

Nonprofit fundraising in the current economic climate may be difficult, but using innovative techniques and outside-the-box thinking can yield tremendous results. Charitable organizations must understand that they have to be savvy in the way that they solicit donors, as doing so will help to formulate a strategy that can be duplicated and deliver consistent results over a long period of time. 

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