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Top 5 Fundraising Myths - Busted!

Fundraising for a nonprofit can feel a lot like shooting an arrow at a target while blindfolded. It’s confusing, bewildering, and next to impossible - unless you take the blindfold off. 

Once you’ve taken the blindfold off, your target becomes clear, and you can utilize good fundraising ideas to their fullest potential. 

When you get right down to it, though, asking for donations can be tough - even with the blindfold off. Don’t make it any tougher for your nonprofit by believing these pervasive myths. 



Here we have the top 5 fundraising myths dispelled!

Myth #1: One is All You Need

Reality: Matching gifts can help your nonprofit double your fundraising. 

Why have one scoop of ice cream when you can have two? That’s precisely the question that matching gifts answers.

There’s a commonly held belief that to raise twice as much money, you have to work exactly twice as hard. With regards to fundraising, so many people are blithely unaware that they could be getting twice as much for the same amount of effort. 

Matching gift programs are one of the top easiest ways to increase your nonprofit’s funding. All it really takes is making your donors more aware of their companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Once they’re aware of the fact that their company might match and therefore double their donation, they’ll be significantly more incentivized to give. 

There’s no real reason to settle for getting half as much as you could. It’s never too late to get started looking into matching gifts for your nonprofit. 

Myth #2: New Donors are Better than Existing Donors 

Reality: Maintaining existing donors is just as important as acquiring new ones. 

Did you know that new donors cost money

It’s a fairly common misconception that newer is better. In the case of nonprofit donor acquisition, however, that could not be further from the truth. 

On average, nonprofits actually spend more money on finding new donors than those new donors typically donate. Meanwhile, on top of that, focusing on new donors pulls attention away from cultivating meaningful relationships with existing donors. It’s more than a little counterintuitive. 

It’s a lot like buying a brand-new sports car and forgetting that you’ve got the keys to your vintage Corvette. Both cars need washing and tune-ups, even if those tune-ups might look a little different. 

Just like your classic car and your new ride, both your existing and potential new donors require thought and attention. 

Neither one is more important than the other, so treat them each as they deserve to be treated. New donors are an investment, and existing donors are relationships that need to be maintained.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need to Register Your Nonprofit to Solicit Donations 

Fundraising myths

Reality: If you raise money in the United States, you need to register your nonprofit. 

This myth is a huge legal issue in the nonprofit sector. So much so that there had to be a new set of guidelines drafted by the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) called the Charleston Principles. 

Essentially, if your nonprofit solicits donations at all in any state in the United States, chances are you need to register your organization in at least one state. 

When it gets hairy is with online fundraising. Since a random donor out in the middle of Texas can find your New York nonprofit online and donate with the click of a button, you technically, legally have to register in both New York and Texas to accept those funds. 

So does that mean you have to register in all 50 states plus Washington DC? In a word, yes. But once you’re registered in all areas, you can feel free to fundraise any way and anywhere! 

Myth #4: Nobody Uses Mobile to Give

Reality: Mobile giving has been on the rise since 2009. 

Over 90% of adults in the US own smartphones. That’s an overwhelming majority! 

Yet most people still have this idea in their heads that no one donates via mobile device. 

Exciting news for the nonprofit world: times are really changing. Online and mobile giving are on the rise, and it’s safe to say that mobile giving is a trend that’s here to stay

In 2009 when the earthquake devastated Haiti, the Red Cross instituted the most wildly successful text-to-give campaign in recent memory, raising upwards of $32 million in a matter of days. Ever since then, nonprofits have walked right through the door that the Red Cross opened. 

Every year, it’s become easier and easier for nonprofits to launch mobile fundraising campaigns. Better yet, mobile giving itself has become completely intuitive; it takes fewer clicks than ever to give money to charity. 

With improvements in both security and simplicity, mobile giving is now the easiest and safest way to give on the go. If your nonprofit hasn’t thought about launching a mobile fundraising campaign before, now is the perfect time to look into it. 



#5. Major Gifts are Only for Major Organizations

Reality: Any nonprofit can pursue major gifts. 

As you know, major gifts are the largest donations a nonprofit receives. As such, many people hold the belief that major gifts just aren’t in the cards for their nonprofits. 

That simply isn’t true. Regardless of the size of your nonprofit, you can and should be pursuing major gifts. 

The truth is that 80-90% of your nonprofit’s donations likely come from a small 10 or 20% of your donors. It’s commonly known as the 80/20 or 90/10 split. Although it sounds a little outrageous, the 80/20 split is real. 

The best way to take advantage of the split is by cultivating relationships with that 20%. If you don’t already have a major gifts strategy in place, it’s not too late to start thinking about how to approach major gifts within the next year. 


Now that we’ve debunked the top 5 fundraising myths, you and your nonprofit can feel free to take off the blindfolds and aim your fundraising arrows true. You’re bound to hit your target now!


This guest article is by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.






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