As a potential public relations professional, I feel that it’s important to know what people are saying about all fields of the profession. PR comes in all shapes and sizes and can be applied in different areas. One very important responsibility PR professionals have is fundraising and bringing awareness to their organization. According to Matthew Ennis, there are 10 myths about fundraising.
1. Fundraising is begging and makes the organization sound needy.
Fundraising isn’t begging. If the organization has a solid business plan, donors will want to invest.
2. Donors respond to the needs of the organization.
Donors are less likely to respond unless they are aware that the organization understands why it needs the donor. You can’t just ask for support without showing why you need it.
3. Fundraising is about money.
Matthew says that fundraising is about building relationships.
4. We have to know the top donors of this area to raise big money.
Many donors don’t care for publicity. Large donations often come from those who have a strong relationship with the organization but may not be known in the community.
5. If the program is successful, the money will just appear.
Successful fundraising demands strong donor response. The organization should have excellent programs to attract donations.
6. Major gifts can be obtained only by writing letters.
Matthew states that letters are easily discarded. It is more difficult for a donor to turn down a personal solicitation.
7. A goal can be reached by dividing it into equal parts and seeking equal gifts.
Donors are all different and have different degrees of involvement with an organization. These differences allow them to respond to different size requests.
8. Some people can’t afford to give, so they should not be asked.
Donors are able to make their own decisions; every organization has surprising stories about donors who gave more than anyone knew they could.
9. Special events are an effective, efficient way to raise money.
Events should raise awareness and involvement within the organization. Special events can raise risks for the large demands for running an event.
10. Asking once a year is enough.
Unless a donor said “no” strongly, ask again. Offer donors multiple chances to invest in your organization.
I found that Matthew’s 10 myths were helpful in remembering what’s most important about fundraising. The goal isn’t always about how much money you can bring in — your main goal should be to build relationships with potential donors and raise awareness of your organization. Fundraising should be personal and positive for an organization.
This summer I will be involved in an internship, and fundraising will be an important aspect of it. I will definitely keep these 10 tips in mind!
What do you think about these myths? Do you have more to add or a different view on any of these 10?
Photo from King Robbins’ blog post.