been said that good decisions come from experience, and experience comes
from bad decisions. There’s a lot we can learn from some of the really
bad decisions that have been made — so we can make better ones. Or at
least we can make our own mistakes rather than simply repeating these
are 15 mistakes we all wish we had known about without having to actually
Cutting acquisition quantity to improve fundraising ratios but destroying
your future revenue stream in the process. If you cut back on
acquisition, you’ll have fewer current donors to cultivate next year and
will start a downward revenue spiral that’s difficult to reverse.
Lazy cultivation. It’s not worth all the time, money, blood, sweat
and tears we invest to acquire new donors if we’re not going to cultivate
them right. Thank them. Segment them carefully. Thank them. Be relevant
to them. Thank them. Show them the significance of their gifts. Don’t let
that file go cold. Reactivate them. Retention. Retention. Retention.
Letting brand dictate fundraising messages instead of mandating
that brand reinforce fundraising messages.
Being seduced by a consultant who claims to be able to acquire
“higher value donors” and ending up getting too few donors to sustain
your organization. The lesson is you need a program that
acquires those higher value donors plus all the other donors.
Setting a target for your capital campaign but forgetting to
include two years of operating budget in the total. The new
building or new programs always cost more to operate than your current
budget. By raising two years of operating costs up front, it gives you
time to increase your revenue stream to meet the new operating budget.