‘Lucky’ 7 huge mistakes

Mistakes, they’re part of life. In fundraising, as in life, there are mistakes, and there are MISTAKES.

During the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising, Chris Cheever and Michael Bacon of Bacon Lee & Associates pointed out some of the really big mistakes that not only hurt a particular fundraising effort but also jeopardize subsequent projects. They are:

  • Inappropriate contact. “I know the Gotrocks very well. I went to school with their best friend’s daughter’s roommate.”; “You mean three of our board members have already called?”; “Your company is donating to our event. Can I get a personal deal?”
  • Overpromising and under-delivering. “Oh, did we promise complimentary tickets?” ; “I did not realize your check for a table meant you wanted your own table.”
  • Bait and switch. “We only need 10 minutes of your time.”; “We won’t be asking for a gift today.”; “Come by our board meeting and see what we’re all about.”
  • Too much, too soon. “We know you have never donated to us before. Would you be a major donor?”; “The campaign goal is $1,000,000. Would you consider a gift of $700,000?”
  • Asking again too soon. “Thank you for your gift. May we have another?”
  • Not enough? “I know you can afford to give more than that.”
  • Thanking too little and too late. “Here’s your receipt from last year.”
  • Knowing your donors. “Did we misspell your name again?”; “Passed away six years ago, did he?”