Sometimes well intentioned, sometimes demeaning, non-fundraisers often provide unsolicited advice on how we can better raise funds. Often starting with the ubiquitous “Have you thought about...” or “Why don’t you just...”, the statements are followed by head scratching words that prove everyone thinks fundraising is easy because they simply don’t understand the complexities of asking
"Dave, in our weekly staff meeting, our programs team came up with these 37 ideas for fundraising," Phil says. Dave reads the report, "Number 4, educate more and ask less. Number 13, use more facts and statistics." Phil remarks, "I think Number 27 is the best." "Ask the Gates Foundation for a grant."
Dave asks, "Why do you want to work at a nonprofit?" Hunter replies, "I have extensive experience raising funds." "What experience?" Dave asks. "I did a Go Fund Me for a missions trip to Africa." Hunter replies. Dave asks, "What did you do in Africa?" Hunter says, "I changed a kid's life by giving
"Looks like we have an accounting error snd we will be $250,000 short," said Frank, the CFO. Julie, a board member, replies, "That's ok, we will just ask Dave to raise the money." "Fundraising is so easy." Gerrish, the Board Chairman, responds.
"Hey Dave, we had one complaint about your telemarketing campaign. Can you cancel that?" said Nixon, the Customer Service Manager. Dave replies, "That's $200,000 of our annual revenue." "It's bothering our donors, Dave. Just ask a major donor to give $200,000." Nixon responds. Nixon walks away thinking "I'm good at this fundraising thing."
"Dave, I need you to rewrite this fundraising letter and remove all of the language that makes us look like we need the donor's money," said Wendy, the Executive Director. Dave replies, "We'll lose donations doing that." "I also need you to raise 10% more than your goal, thanks." Wendy responds.
"I'm so glad you came in for this interview to be a major gifts officer, what is one of your weaknesses?" asked Dave. The job candidate replies, "I don't like to ask people for money."
"Dave, the air conditioning in the building went out. Can you find a major donor that has a passion for HVAC and raise $50,000?" asked Wendy, the Executive Director. Dave replies, "Next, can we find a donor with a passion for office furniture to buy me a chair that's not broken?"
Yes, it's well intentioned. Yes, like many professions, people assume fundraising is easier than it actually is. And yes, it's head-shakingly-funny some of the suggestions people make to fundraisers about how to do their jobs. Here's a few of the funniest, unfortunately too common, suggestions people make to nonprofit development teams on how to improve