Donors are essentially important to NGOs as they are the ones who make continuous operations a possibility. Hence, making a good impression towards these donors is a must for all NGO. Thus, at times NGOs still fall short and unfortunately turn donors down. These are the most common mistakes which could make you lose your chances in acquiring donors:
- Failing to introduce oneself
It has been a general rule that if you meet someone, you are to introduce yourself before bluntly asking for your wants and needs. Simply asking donors for money does not leave you in such a good position. This mistake does not only apply to face-to-face fundraising but through emails as well. Writing an introduction is a simple thing to do. All it takes are a few introductory words. First, the sender must introduce who they are and the organization they work for. After which, they are supposed to briefly discuss what their organization does and who they help. After someone can get a grasp of what the organization works for, their aims and purposes, it’s time to get straight to the point and inform them of who they will be helping out should they decide to make a donation.
- Minor errors
As much as it’s the content which first will matter most, proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling is still something which donors will look at. Having this perfected indicates professionalism and confidence for the donor’s side on your organization.
- Not having the answers
As donors, they are entitled to information regarding the funding needs of a particular project. That being said, as an organization seeking for funding, it is necessary that you are able to provide adequate information. This being said, the information provided should also be accurate, so make sure you know what you’re talking about. At times, the need for funds are urgent that you try to gain donors immediately – which can be your downfall as well. Unfamiliarity with a particular project and being unable to give the right answers will cause donors to lose confidence in your organization. That being said, they wouldn’t want to donate money to people or organizations they do not trust.
- Refusing to get to know your donors
It is a given fact that NGOs appreciate funds from donors. Thus, this doesn’t mean it is reasonable to make your donors feel as if it’s the only thing they are after. Getting to know your donors will provide you with guidance in how to treat them. After all, some of them may even be open to doing more than just donating. A few of them could potentially be your volunteers as well.
- Not acting professional
Some donors are quite informal and would like to treat you alike. Thus, always remember to treat donors like big clients of huge corporations. No matter how they may act, remember to always be punctual and handing over formal documentation when needed. Although your donors may not be punctual for example, you must never anticipate their tardiness and still show up on time. In cases like this, always remember that your organization is in need of donors and would like to get the most out of their resources.
- Not treating your donors equally
It’s completely normal that donors don’t give the same amount of money. Whether it be corporations or individuals, this is something which is common for every NGO. Thus, this doesn’t mean that donors should be treated according to the amount they have donated. The only times this could be implemented is when your NGO decides to accept donations for the sale of certain products. Other than that, donations, whether big or small should be appreciated equally and the ones who have given them.
- Not showing enough appreciation
Donors are essentially what keeps your organization in business. They are the reason why you are able to continually implement many of your projects. That being said, they deserve appreciation for their efforts, whether it be big or small. Always remember that thanking them will increase the chances of them repeating their donations. Only 19% of first-time donors are usually retained (Jepson, 2016) which can be increased if you remain constant interactions with your respective donors. Doing so will also increase chances that they will share this to their own networks as well.
It’s no secret that funds for NGOs are not always easy to acquire. It requires much effort and determination from the side of your organization. Thus, it is not good enough to settle for mediocrity. Philanthropists who give to individuals will not continually support your organization if you conduct minor errors continually. Thus, always double-check your work and make sure it is worthy to be presented to donors.