top of page

Scary Fundraising Scenarios and Sweet Solutions

As fundraising progresses, sometimes people lose sight of the basics. And at times overlooking the fundamentals of fundraising can lead to some scary situations. Here are a few reminders so that all of your fundraising results come out sweet!

Scary scenario: Donor funds aren’t being spent according to donor intent or spent at all.

So many donors are suing organizations they have donated to because they feel that their funds are not being properly cared for.

Sweet solution: Ensure that the gift agreements are clear in advance, that promises made to donors can actually be fulfilled, and that awarding departments and beneficiaries know they need to spend the money in a proper timeframe and according to the donor’s intent. Sometimes, that means not accepting the gift in the first place if it isn’t right for your organization, which saves money and bad publicity!

Scary scenario: Fundraisers leave the organization and the database of comments and needed information on a donor is empty.

Sweet solution: The average lifespan for a front line fundraiser in their position is 16 months - plan ahead for this! Make sure contact reports are entered, ensure that the donor has more than one relationship at your organization and that their preferences and needs are well documented. If it isn’t in the database, it didn’t occur!

Scary scenario: A new building is being built that is full of donor naming opportunities and there is currently no plan for what can go on the plaques, when the namings are celebrated, and how much they cost.

Sweet solution: A great naming policy can help alleviate these concerns. Ideally this would be pre construction to help you set guidelines and have proper examination of the process. For example, do you have a morality clause? Is there a minimum payment to be made before a name goes up? Remember you are selling space, you’re naming in recognition of generosity! What will you allow to be said on a plaque? Is it timeless and consistent?

Scary scenario: A donor sends a gift into your organization quarterly and receives the same acknowledgment letter 3 gifts in a row. In addition, that acknowledgment takes more than a month to arrive!

Sweet solution: Diversify your acknowledgments! Remember at their core they are thank you notes. Keep them simple and short, but note if this is the donor’s second or third gift and make sure you’re changing up your letters over time! Acknowledgments and receipts are crucial steps to the donor experience and cannot be overlooked.

What are some of your scary scenarios? What have you done to provide a sweet solution! Share your donor relations and fundraising horror stories with us!

Happy Halloween!




bottom of page