5 Fundraising Plans Destined to Fail in 2020
1. ‘All or Nothing’ Fundraising Plans
‘All or nothing’ fundraising plans box themselves into either A.) all online fundraising, or B.) only traditional fundraising. It’s not uncommon. On the one hand, these nonprofits can be overly traditional, afraid to try new online fundraising strategies. In the process of doing nothing new, nonprofits can – and will eventually – get left behind. What worked last decade – or last year – needs updating no matter how effective it was! On the other side of things, some nonprofits attempt to include every kind of fundraising plan available. These plans tend to be a little haphazard, running from the newest and shiniest fundraising ideas. The fix? Balance. Stick with what’s brought your nonprofit the most fundraising success in the past – of course! – but don’t forget to try new and improving digital fundraising strategies.
2. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Fundraising Plans
The ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ plan is often seen in discouraged small nonprofits or nonprofits on the verge of bankruptcy. A self-fulfilling prophecy fundraising plan is when nonprofits have a negative outlook on the annual fundraising plan. These nonprofits struggle to hope they will have an improved funding year, operating out of fear. This can lead to seeing donors less like integral partners for your mission, and more like dollars. Not only does it affect team morale, but donors can often see it. Supporters can read the fear in appeals, emails, social media posts, and donor meetings. Believe it or not, your supporters generally have a sense if you are “off.” One of their clues is when every single time your nonprofit organization communicates with them, you ask for money. If this is your nonprofit, take heart! Remember what your nonprofit is good at — all that it has accomplished thus far. And let your organization’s mission re-inspire an annual fundraising plan that reflects the heart of your vision.
3. Emotional Fundraising Plans
Emotional fundraising plans lack donor data to back up its decisions. Often, emotional fundraising plans come from good intentions and even fund development professionals who are really in-tune with their donors. However, creating annual fundraising plans based solely on how you feel donors will or want to give to your charity this year is not the wisest idea. Not only will your emotions wax and wane, but so will your donors. Stay in tune with your donors, but don’t forget to base your annual fundraising plan on data.
4. Risk-averse Fundraising Plans
Risk-averse fundraising plans are usually driven by internal pressure to raise more funds than last year. What if last year was your best year yet? How do you keep topping yourself? If your nonprofit’s team does not feel as though it has permission to fail, it’s likely going to struggle this year with stepping into new and innovative fundraising strategies. If it’s been a while, hold a classic brainstorming session for your board, executive leadership, staff, or group of core donors. Ask yourselves: what are new fundraising ideas we could try if the fear of failure and major consequences didn’t exist?
5. Rigid Fundraising Plans
Similar to risk-averse fundraising plans, rigid fundraising plans are the ones that development teams follow to a T, and aren’t willing to budge on throughout the year. Having and following an annual fundraising and marketing plan is critical for a nonprofit’s success, no doubt. But if a nonprofit is too rigid, it might miss out on new and exciting fundraising opportunities in 2020 that it may not have seen coming. Anticipate the need to be flexible this year in every fundraising strategy by leaving room in your calendar and budget. There might be new technology, new donors, new foundations, and new staff that may present you with your next best fundraising opportunity. Don’t hold too tight to what you know and miss out.