When Complexity Stands in the Way of Fundraising

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

To tweet this article, click here.

A third frequent impediment to successful fundraising that bares mentioning, even when taboo and the fear of making a mistake can be overcome, is the issue of complexity.

In a fiercely competitive environment, fundraisers steel themselves while they try to figure out how to get more money. But often a breakdown occurs when they enter that uncomfortable corporate office, say, or that of a government bureaucrat for a meeting. Suddenly, they’re faced with a steep learning curve, as cryptic acronyms are batted around the room like menacing flies. Feeling overwhelmed, the fundraiser cowers inwardly, thinking, “I just wanted to be of help. I didn’t enter this field to write a government grant. I just wanted to help the homeless or make sure that dying people had respect in the last weeks of their lives.” The seminal drive to do good withers against sophisticated business complications, and as a result, the fundraiser and the vast majority of nonprofits end up never getting off the dime. The way around this dilemma is surprisingly simple: ask questions. If you don’t know what to ask, you can always buy time by saying: “I’ll get back to you later on that.” Thousands of people have successfully completed grant applications or closed deals with corporate partners. With a bit more study time you can confidently add yourself to that list. Not knowing is forgivable; not caring enough to find out is just that.

 

This is part two of a four-part series covering the most common roadblocks to successful fundraising.

To read part one, The Most Common Roadblock to Successful Fundraisingclick here.

To read part two, Fundraiser Paralysis: Overcoming the Fear of Making a Mistake, click here.

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