Collecting donations for charity is one of the best ways to give back to the community. By using your company’s platform to raise funds and donate them to those in need, you can make a significant impact on the lives of your beneficiaries, and in the process, your business also gets to benefit from charitable donation tax deductions, free publicity, as well as increased customer support.
However, fundraising is not as easy as it may seem. Simply asking donors for money is complicated in and of itself, and when done wrongly, it can even affect your reputation as a company. That said, here are some of the most common corporate fundraising mistakes that you may not be aware of—as well as how you can avoid them:
Not using the right platform
Not using the right corporate fundraising platform—or not using one at all—is one of the first mistakes that you want to avoid when collecting funds for charitable purposes. For instance, if you want to match your employees’ donations, using a charity matching platform can make the process as seamless as possible. More importantly, the ease that a matching platform provides can motivate employees to donate more and encourage others to make contributions.
A corporate fundraising platform is an essential tool for simplifying corporate fundraising. With such a platform in place, you can easily share your fundraising program across multiple websites, particularly social media. It also makes it easier to keep track of contributions and show donors how far their donations have come.
Not building good relationships with donors
If you have purely transactional relationships with your donors, it can result in donor fatigue and total disconnection. On the other hand, if you establish good relationships with your donors from the get-go, those connections have a better potential to flourish and grow.
That said, make a genuine connection with your donor before asking them to donate. Don’t just ask them to donate, provide them with a reason to give. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish, show them the impact of your work, and then ask that burning question.
Not analyzing your lists
Through data entry and data mining, you can take note of connections to your organization that can be strengthened and enriched before you send out solicitations. Banking on simple things like friendships, shared interests, and board memberships can make it easier to reach out to your connections and give them a good reason to donate.
Not addressing doubts
Everyone tends to have doubts in the back of their mind when it comes to donating. A lot of people will ask questions like “Is this charity program legitimate?” or “Will my donation truly make an impact?”. And this is why it is extremely important to address doubts about your company and the impact that their donations can make.
Build trust before you send solicitations. Engage with people directly, and then address their doubts and fears even before they arise. After all, everyone needs at least a little reassurance before handing out their money.
Making big promises and not delivering them
Another common mistake in corporate fundraising is making huge promises and then under-delivering. It’s a one-way ticket to lose your donors’ trust and—even worse—tarnish your credibility as a business. To avoid this, do not make big promises that you can’t deliver. Instead, be realistic, transparent, and truthful about your program’s efforts and results—even if they sometimes don’t meet your goals.
Forgetting to say thanks
When people donate money to your program, it’s only right (and expected) that you show appreciation. Unfortunately, too many companies forget this essential part of corporate fundraising, leaving donors feeling underappreciated and wondering if they truly made an impact with their donations.
Whether it’s a personalized thank you note or a call, any simple gesture of appreciation can make a huge difference.
Not giving options to donors
Not all donors are made equal, even if you target a specific group. For this reason, it is important that you fully understand who you are asking and then make your ask suitable for that specific group. Furthermore, provide them with options: small, medium, and big amounts (or a custom amount, if possible)—so that they can freely choose how much they are willing to give without it feeling forced.
Asking people for money is not an easy task, even if you have a sparkling reputation as a company. You have to establish credibility, and with that, you have to ensure that you avoid these common corporate fundraising mistakes that can undermine your charitable efforts.