Breaking Down Obstacles to Nonprofit Fundraising

Higher Rewards
3 min readApr 21, 2021

As we head into spring and more and more people get vaccinated, it’s time to return to more traditional fundraising campaigns. Before we hit the drawing board, it’s important to remember the main obstacles nonprofits and charities might walk into. Solving one can be a step towards solving the others.

Lack of Resources

It’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Organizations lack funds to organize large donation campaigns so they scale back and end up with a decline in donations. Luckily, there are plenty of free tools to organize events such as Social Tables, Zoom, or Canva.

But one thing it can be difficult to find a cheap replacement for is people. 8.5% of nonprofits report that recruiting staff and volunteers is a major challenge. Focus on building a chain of volunteers who can spread word about the benefits of working for your organization through word of mouth.

Donor Retention

It’s been estimated that only 20% of new donors actually give again to nonprofits and charities. If donors aren’t incentivized to give more than once, that means that the marketing cost per donor is larger, which feeds into the first obstacle.

There are so many ways to ensure that donors come again; the main thing to remember is that they need a reminder. This can come in the form of holding more frequent events, encouraging donation pledges, or creating a newsletter.

Lack of Online Presence

In the age of the Internet, it can be difficult to tell if an organization asking for money is legitimate and prospective donors have a right to be skeptical. Developing an enviable Instagram feed only costs time. Showing the work your organization is doing in as many ways possible will encourage more donations.

Social media is a great fundraising tool that works even during a pandemic. Your accounts should tell stories; shout out donors, share your partners’ stories and convince donors that joining your team also means having a unique experience.

Internal Leadership

Fundraising campaigns will always fall apart if the people running them aren’t reliable. Organizations with smaller budgets are more likely to have a high turnover of development directors. Such organizations are also more likely to consider themselves unsatisfied with their organization.

Invest in good development directors. Organizations without them see worse pools of talent to choose from when filling the position. Good leaders can help cut costs when it comes to mounting campaigns, know how to design the best solutions, and can even set motivating goals that encourage the whole staff.

Lack of Awareness

The largest setback for many nonprofits is a lack of brand awareness. What’s the solution? A combination of everything else. Make sure you’re telling your supporters’ stories, stay personal, and make sure you have consistent leadership and donors. If your mission is honest and well-defined, finding future partners just requires time and resources to spread the word.



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