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Great excuses for poor fundraising success

Howard Lake | 4 September 2008 | Blogs

The credit crunch and the recession give us a wonderful opportunity to tell our trustees why our fundraising is struggling. The Tsunami excuse was wearing a bit thin, so thank God a new excuse has come along.
I’m not sure, however, how long trustees will buy this excuse, so it’s about time we had a bank of original excuses to keep those pesky trustees at bay.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. The database won’t let us do what we want to.
2. We’ve become unpopular.
3. No one’s ever heard of us.
4. No one will tell us what they want the money for.
5. Giving is no longer fashionable.
6. We really don’t need the money so how can we ask for more?
7. We’ve been hit by unforeseen factors, and we still don’t know what they are.
8. There’s more competition than ever.
9. We’re too busy to fundraise.
10. I’ve blown the budget on a world cruise.
Good aren’t they? In fact, every one of those excuses – apart from the last one – are direct quotes from interviews I’ve conducted with fundraisers in the last year!
And let’s be frank: they are all excuses, reasons for inaction. Because while there may be a nugget of truth inside each of those sentences, fundraisers have the power to do something about all of them. In these hard times we may have to think harder and work smarter, but there are plenty of charities who are bucking the trend, and I bet that most of those charities could use the above excuses if they wanted to.
Fundraisers should be solutions-driven not problem-restricted. Let’s show that a recession does not mean a falling off in income but rather a new and refreshing engagement with our supporters.