Every non-profit organization I’ve encountered has some kind of barrier that prevents a donor from freely giving to their heart’s content to that organization.

Let me list a few:

  1. No donor acquisition strategy.
  2. A poorly developed donor cultivation strategy where they have truly bought into the idea of an annual fund or appeal, and they rarely ask a donor for a gift.
  3. No monthly sustainer program.
  4. Not a mid-level program in sight.
  5. An unstructured major gift program with no strategy.
  6. No planned giving program.
  7. A development program structure where Marketing oversees Development.
  8. A membership or event department that’s separate from fundraising.
  9. Lack of investment in personnel.
  10. A poorly set up back office that doesn’t receipt or thank donors in a timely manner.
  11. No infrastructure set up with program and finance to report on donor impact.
  12. A lack of inspiring donor offers with different “price points.”
  13. A CEO who won’t ask donors for gifts and sees fundraising as a necessary evil.
  14. A board that has not been educated about fundraising and the importance of donors.
  15. Not seeing donors as part of your mission.
  16. Paying your staff below market value but expecting them to work over 40 hours a week.
  17. Not taking donors to the scene and connecting the donor to the community.
  18. KPIs that reward you from keeping donors from moving up the donor pipeline.

When I’m in a conference room sitting around the table with an organization’s leadership and fundraising team, I’ve asked them: “How many of you would like to put up a barrier that doesn’t allow your donor to move through your donor pipeline as easy as possible?” And NO one raises their hand.

Yet, every non-profit is putting up some barrier in some shape or form that I’ve mentioned above.

We are literally preventing our donors from finding joy in their giving.

What barriers do you have up at your organization? What barriers have I missed? Let’s knock them down together.