Top 5 Fundraising Mistakes You Should Avoid

So you are running a fundraising project and you are worried that you may make a mistake? You should be worried. Mistakes can cost you dearly. The difference between raising a million dollars and raising just a few thousands maybe just a single statement. To make sure that you avoid simple mistakes, you must be careful with your words and actions when dealing with prospective donors. How you execute your plan, set your timelines, and execute activities you undertake during your fundraising period are all critical factors and should be done in a professional manner. It does not matter what the purpose of the fundraiser is. All fundraisers need proper planning and communication. Here are the top 5 mistakes you must avoid when running a fundraiser.

1) Lack Of A Plan

Every fundraiser will succeed based on the plans put in place. When creating your fundraiser plan, you need to set a target and prepare a budget. From this time, you set in motion a series of activities and actions that will lead to the actualization of the plan. If you are planning to raise 5 million dollars, you must have a plan that will deliver the amount. You should already have a set of donors in mind whom you expect to donate an approximate amount. You also need to set in motion other activities that supplement the main donors which may lead to contribution from non-official targets.

2) Working Against Time

Trying to raise money on a tight schedule is a very big mistake. When planning a fundraiser, you need to plan everything ahead of time. The worst mistake is notifying the donors just a few weeks to the deadline. You should give your donors the necessary information and pass your fund request to all prospective donors in advance. You should have a time period of at least 3 months between when you inform your donors and the deadline date for the contribution.

3) Requesting A Specific Amount

Probably you were taught somewhere that you should always be specific when asking for something. That does not apply in all the cases. When requesting for money from a donor, it is wise to leave room for the donor to choose the amount. It is okay to give your donor some clues but avoid finality statements such as “we are asking you to contribute $10,000”. The problem with giving a cut-out figure is that you may ask for too little or for too much. The amount the donor will give out should always be set out by the target amounts and the words you use in your request. Treating your donors as the main guest will challenge them to give out a substantial amount based on your target. This is also the reason why you need to set your target amount somewhat higher than what you actually need.

4) Making A Casual Request

Even if the donor is your close friend, avoid making casual requests. Make your request as formal as possible. This can be done through a formal letter or email. When you give someone a casual request they will also give a causal contribution. This means that they will just be among the other donors, but once you offer someone an official request, they put themselves in the shoe of the main donors and are likely to donate more money.

5) Fearing To Ask

One of the biggest mistakes of fundraising is to fear to ask. Some people fear to ask people who are superior to them or those who hold high government offices for funds. This is a rookie mistake. In fact, anyone you are afraid of asking is the person you should be asking. Most of the people who are feared are those in authority and it just happens that these are the individuals who are more likely to have the money you want. You should pass your requests to as many people and organizations as possible. Even if the organization giving out donations is your competitor, you should simply submit a formal request. Making your requests formal is the best way of dealing with fear. Communicating with your prospective donors on an official level removes most of the social barriers.


Carrying out a fundraising campaign is not always easy. However, there is a great potential for raising a substantial amount of money when the event is done well. Prepare your plan and explain your cause to the prospective donors in advance. Approach as many people as possible and make sure to present your request in a formal way. This way, you will get many people willing to donate enough amount to your project. Image source:

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