When you cannot move forward with fundraising, you experience what I would call a snowball effect. You stress about the future rather than focus on the present.
Then, in panic, you quickly organize a campaign, asking everyone you know for donations. You do this through email, post, social media, and maybe an event. All your efforts produce some donations but not as many as you hoped.
Soon after, you receive negative feedback from people. They thought you were too pushy and didn’t like the approach. Some of your contacts have even asked not to receive any more communications, or they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. More stressed, you realize that you may have been too aggressive.
When this snowball happens, you dramatically limit your fundraising because you base your efforts on how much money you can receive rather than what God is giving you. It’s not the right approach, and you can do something about this.
These challenges are often the cause of a bigger problem which too many Catholic charities are facing. Yours may even be, too.
In my experience, these issues happen because you have the wrong leadership team. Leaders are meant to guide you away from problems (particularly with fundraising), so you can avoid these different kinds of panic. Leaders should instead keep you focused on what you love to do: saving lives and saving souls.
Here are three indicators that you may have the wrong person or people on your board, mentors, committee, or advisory group
1: They do not donate an amount that is right for them.
2: They avoid finding and nurturing prospects.
3: They don’t ask people to give.
If you have someone who fits any of these three indicators, I recommend you ask them to start getting more involved or reconsider their role.
The world is in need of you and the great work that you do, but you cannot give all that you have if you are struggling with fundraising. Too often fundraising is a roadblock not because the people around you don’t want to donate to you but because they perceive you as not capable of doing great things with their donations.
They don’t want to donate to a charity that is fighting financial fires rather than pressing forward with their cause. Catholics give to great organizations that are achieving great results.
Therefore, I recommend that you place your cause, the people you serve, and your donors at the heart of how your leaders are involved in fundraising. Do the right thing and get them involved in the three ways I mentioned. The quicker you do this, the quicker people will start donating to you, and the sooner you can get back to doing what you love to do: bringing Christ to the world.
I wrote another article on Catholic leadership which looks at three leadership qualities that will improve your fundraising immensely: http://catholicfundraiser.net/leadership/
Also, the Evangelium Consulting Group (a thought-leader on this subject within the Catholic Church) wrote a short and helpful article on leadership which looks into how you can do more in your parish.