Here Are My Fundraising Pet Peeves… What Are Yours?

If you’ve been working in non-profit fundraising for any length of time, chances are you have developed a few pet peeves.

Now, I’m not talking about a donor that grates on you or your colleague who talks way too loud on the phone… I’m talking about the fundraising ideas and cultures that really bug you, because you know deep down that those actions and beliefs are limiting your organization’s ability to raise money.

Today, I want to share my three fundraising pet peeves with you. I hope that after reading them, you’ll use the comments section to tell us what your fundraising pet peeves are and how you handle them.

Here are my fundraising pet peeves:

Pet Peeve #1: Desk-Based Fundraising

Have you ever worked with a fundraiser who would do anything to avoid going out of the office to meet with donors and prospects? I’ve worked with lots of folks who would rather spend their time sending out e-mails, writing newsletters, or doing research than getting out from behind their desk to meet with a donor face-to-face.

It’s nearly impossible for an organization to thrive if it embraces “desk-based fundraising.” Sure, a larger organization might have a grantwriter or communications assistant that works primarily out of the office, but every non-profit needs fundraisers who are out meeting with donors, going to breakfasts, lunches and dinners with prospects, and getting out from behind their desk.

Pet Peeve #2: EDs and Boards that Think Fundraising is “Easy” – at Least for YOU

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard Executive Directors and board members say, “You know what? Fundraising should really be easy for our organization. We do great work. It sells itself. We just haven’t had any luck finding a fundraiser who would do it right.”

Guess what — no program or non-profit “sells itself” when it comes to fundraising. There are millions of great causes out there. People have tons of thing competing for their scarce financial resources. Fundraising is work… hard work… no matter how great your organization’s mission and programs are.

Board members and EDs who think that the real “hard work” is on the program side and that fundraising should come easy to the development team should take two days off and spend one working as a program officer and another working as a fundraiser. They’ll quickly learn that both sides are equally hard and equally important to the success of the organization.

Pet Peeve #3: The “Necessary Evil” Fundraising Culture

Have you ever heard a non-profit board or staff member say that fundraising was a “necessary evil…” something that the organization has to get through “to get to the real work?”

For me, it’s like hearing nails on a chalkboard. I may be biased, but to me, fundraising is the most important thing your non-profit does… because without fundraising, you wouldn’t have any money to run your programs, pay your staff, hold your events or pay the rent on your office.

Fundraising matters. It’s not a “necessary evil.” It is a real, tangible, positive contribution to the overall success of your non-profit. The more you raise, the more good your organization can do in the world. So maybe, just maybe… fundraising really is the most important thing you do at your non-profit.

Now that I have shared my three fundraising pet peeves with you, take a moment and scroll down to the comment box below and let me know what your fundraising pet peeves are…

Photo Credit: Matt McDaniel