We look for the best in fundraisers….but too often we find the worst. No ones perfect. No one does everything right. But the fundraiser living happily in this list probably needs to find a new home.
So, the top 20 habits of poor fundraisers – in no particular order of sadness..
- Not listening – the donor know best, but not according to some
- Thinking it’s all about money – it’s not a transaction, it’s a gift. Money is the outcome of feeling good, trust, inspiration, engagement and action
- Trying to do it all themselves – from selling tickets to flogging stuff. We are nothing without the active, committed goodwill and actions of volunteers, philanthropists, leaders
- Claiming income that isn’t theirs to meet their budget – me first, charity second, donor third. Mercenary above common good
- Flogging stuff that no one wants – Look at my clever thing, you simply must be interested
- Not doing what you say you will when you say you will do it – most simple to fix, most often done, most common complaint
- Not saying thank you – cardinal sin. Fundraisers who don’t say thank you or show appreciation should be tortured (this is metaphorical in case you don’t have a sense of humour – see point 21)
- Not asking – the core of the job but remarkably difficult for some, with most displaying a brilliant capacity to fill time with everything else
- Not working with others or seeing the bigger picture – no perspective or ability to see outside their own world leads to fundraising and relational cul-de-sacs
- Not knowing the difference and impact each donation makes – easy to get wrong in the focus to get cash, often just forgotten though
- Not thinking ahead and building a pipeline – short-term, poor planning, ineffective management
- Not having a personal story or connection with what you are fundraising for, or not even trying to connect – if you don’t care why should they? It about credibility and authenticity.
- Being frightened to do the right thing – easier said than done maybe. One to mull over a glass or two
- Not my job syndrome – 1970’s union nonsense. Displays the worst values
- Not keeping up with what’s going on out there – dinosaurs, no curiosity, no edge
- Wearing bad shoes – looking a mess wont get confidence, and wont get gifts
- Not trying to improve each time – no capacity for learning and self-improvement means falling behind not growing or being better
- Not being able to function without a pack – ‘packitis’ – a common medical condition with symptoms involving a fixed staring empty expression, with the afflicted unable to have a conversation without a reassuring toolkit to hand. Excuse for doing nothing usually, (even if a toolkit or pack helps of course)
- Not aspiring high enough – boring, no passion, small, letting your cause down
- Creating division rather than harmony – life’s too short to put up with these people
- Having absolutely no perspective or sense of humour – self-explanatory, see point 7
Donors demand better. Charities need better. The world deserves better.