Five Ways for Nonprofits to Scare Away Donors

Nov 4, 2010 8:29 AM ET

Alice Korngold's Blog

Hopefully, many of you do or will contribute generously to causes that you care about, and even step up to join nonprofit boards and help to fundraise. Fundraising is an exciting and very concrete way to build support for a mission that you are really passionate about.

For those of you who get involved in fundraising on a nonprofit board, be alert to how the organization treats its donors. It can make all the difference in whether or not your donors are enthusiastic repeaters, or drift away. I continue to be surprised that there are still too many nonprofits that scare away donors by neglecting to:

  1. Say thank you in thoughtful ways (or even at all!)

  2. Provide opportunities for donors to make site visits to see programs "in action"

  3. Provide straightforward information about how funds are used to achieve meaningful results

  4. Involve donors in service activities if they are interested

  5. Recognize donors at events, on the organization's website, and in the annual report

If you're involved in fundraising on a nonprofit board, you can increase the likelihood of donors repeating and possibly increasing their support by ensuring that each of the five steps above are taken. Most importantly, that donors are thanked sincerely and thoughtfully.

The CEO and development director must be highly active and effective partners in working with the board on fundraising activities and donor relationships. Together, the CEO and board need to create the case for what you are raising funds for. Additionally, board members need to make financial contributions themselves before asking others. But the five steps noted above are key to the ongoing development of donor relationships. And the five steps will also ensure a positive and productive board culture, where success will lead to more success.

Please share some of your experiences--good and bad--and how these experiences have influenced your charitable contributions.

See continuation on Fast Company here...

Korngold Consulting LLC assists corporations in building fully integrated, high-impact CSR strategies, including leadership development through nonprofit board service.  Korngold Consulting trains and places business executives on nonprofit boards, and consults to nonprofit boards and leaders to strengthen governance for financial and strategic success.