Blog | Jul 29, 2011 | 2 Comments

[tough questions about your fundraising competition]

When I used to write sales guides, I liked the straight talk about how to overcome sales challenges. Nonprofits need to be more honest about their own challenges, too, so they can be successful in their version of sales–fundraising.

Know what you’re up against.

In writing the Competitive Comparisons and Handling Objections sections of a sales guide, I had to reveal what was actually working against the sales force. It required an honest look at the products’ strengths and weaknesses relative to competitive offerings. But other companies were not the only competition. Sometimes it was resource constraints (budget tightening and staff limitations), more pressing initiatives, inertia, or even fear

Fundraisers have some tough questions to answer.

Potential donors and funders are critically weighing their options for spending their money. You should think critically about your prospects, too. Some things to ask yourself:

You may also need to have some difficult donor conversations.

Think of several different classes or types of donors. Imagine you’re sitting down with someone in each category who is not friendly to your organization. What objections would they raise? What might help you win them over? Maybe it’s not anything you say—maybe it’s something you have to change about your organization. If you’re able, consider actually contacting prospects or lapsed donors to have an honest conversation about why they didn’t give—as I suggested in the recent post, [lost sales analysis].

What do you think? What other questions need to be asked?

Image credit: heidielliot on flickr. This work is licensed through Creative Commons.
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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


This is extremely valuable strategic advice. There’s so much to consider while framing this discussion, isn’t there? I’d be lost.


Claire Wagner Reply:

Of course, all of us could probably use some of this thinking about our own businesses! I’ll put it on the agenda for my next company retreat. (LOL)


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