Terri Harel

Turning Fear Into Success: Combatting 6 Common Objections to Personal Fundraising

The core of peer-to-peer fundraising is turning your donors into fundraisers. Seems easy enough.

But what happens when your supporters are reluctant to start fundraising?

Supporters can hesitate to fundraise for many reasons, but the main causes usually result from a feeling of inadequacy or fear of failure. This is where nonprofits can step in with the right resources and encouragement to help supporters feel capable of their personal fundraising success.

To help you help your supporters, we’ve listed the top 6 objections nonprofits hear most frequently from their potential fundraisers, along with steps you can take to alleviate each one.

1. I don’t know how to fundraise.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate that anybody can fundraise. It’s your opportunity to help them create a clear roadmap to reach their goal. Strengthen your personal connection. Provide support and equip them for fundraising success.

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To start, providing a tips sheet is a great way to equip fundraisers. In fact, it has been shown to dramatically impact fundraisers’ success rates. But to ensure their individual success, help them create their own, personalized strategy for reaching a fundraising goal. Not only will you give them with the tools they need, but you’ll also help them feel like they’re not at it alone.

To empower your supporters, you can:

• Assist them in communicating your organization’s vision

• Help them compile a list of likely donors, and practice the phone call

• Provide sample social media posts

• Coach them to plan a 3-part email series, with sample emails

Encourage fundraisers to personalize their messages as much as possible. Personalization creates stronger connections with potential donors who will feel they’re contributing to individual milestones. With your support, your fundraisers can develop a greater sense of ownership that will excite and motivate them to reach their fundraising goal.

2. I don’t have enough time.

Unfortunately, this is an objection nonprofits hear quite often. It’s also one that online fundraising tackles head-on. While by no means does online fundraising take zero or little effort, it does reduce the physical, door-to-door sales you might have experienced as a child selling candy bars for your school’s annual fundraising. This means that the yield of donations given the time spent could be higher than more traditional fundraising methods.

With that said, this objection may simply point to the real reason for a supporter’s hesitation: “I don’t know how to manage a personal fundraising page, and learning how to do it seems time-consuming and frustrating.”

Show your supporters just how simple it is to start a personal campaign. For example, you can walk your fundraisers through the process of creating a personal campaign page. Clearly list and detail each step, so there are no missed opportunities to succeed.

Keep in mind that what may be obvious to you may not be so clear to your fundraisers. Prompt them to share their page through a simple Facebook post or Tweet, as even one outreach effort can bring in donations and push them towards success. Provide sample social media posts and e-mails to alleviate the stress of having to craft their own messages from scratch.

3. I don’t want to ask or annoy friends.

If your fundraiser feels this way, remind them they are not simply asking for money; they are giving donors an opportunity to participate in a worthy cause. That’s the beauty of philanthropy. When someone chooses to give, both the fundraiser and donor come away on top.

The organization gets closer to their overall mission, the fundraiser gets closer to reaching their fundraising goal, while the donor receives the satisfaction of supporting a worthwhile cause. As Simon Sinek, a leadership expert and TED speaker, has said,

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Help your fundraisers frame their asks as an opportunity to make a difference. By effectively communicating the mission, they can help their family and peers come away feeling like they were given an opportunity, rather than a solicitation.

4. I don’t know enough about the mission or cause.

The solution to this one is pretty straightforward. Provide your fundraisers with additional information about your nonprofit and its mission. Try create an informational packet that includes excerpts from the key parts of your website, blog posts, videos, and constituent stories. Also, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter so that they’re always in the loop about what’s happening at your organization or in the field.

In any case, make sure to connect the act of giving with its impact. Where do the donations go, and how are they helping your nonprofit move the needle? What has your organization accomplished in the past year? Five years? To make your impact more tangible, identify specific beneficiaries whose lives were changed by your work. By creating these packets, you are providing fundraisers with the stories and information they will need to emotionally impact their own networks and garner donations.

5. I am not tech-savvy enough.

This objection is based more out of fear than anything else. Walk your supporters through the fundraising process to show the tech savvy requirement is relatively low.

One organization, Vs. Cancer, pre-creates teams’ fundraising pages and provides a one-page instruction sheet on how to join the team. In a similar fashion, you can be proactive in eliminating obstacles and making it easy for your supporters to start online fundraising.

To impart some tech know-how, you can:

  • Help them set up and navigate through their fundraising page
  • Provide the page URL and instructions for logging back in and checking their progress
  • Offer design resources to make their personal pages look fantastic
  • Create email templates for effortless messaging
  • Demonstrate how easy it is to share a sample social media post

Throughout it all, ask questions to fundraisers’ needs and let them know you’re there to help. Once your fundraisers overcome this hurdle of fear, they will feel empowered to express ownership over their fundraising page.

6. I’m afraid that the overall campaign and/or my personal campaign won’t be successful.

This one sounds harsh, but don’t take it personally. It’s only human to be afraid of jumping into something that might fail, so when it comes to your overall campaign, it’s important to demonstrate some progress that indicates a likely win. Get your core supporters fundraising first to build momentum, then approach your other fundraisers and encourage them to be a part of your success story.

When it comes to your supporters’ personal fundraising concerns, create a sense of belonging for them. Through real-time feeds of other fundraisers and their progress, you can encourage others they’re also capable of success. This kind of social proof can inspire your potential fundraisers to get onboard. Most importantly, keep your fundraisers updated on your campaign’s overall progress, so they can see how their individual goals are impacting the overarching goal of a bigger community.

You’ll notice that many of these solutions are just a matter of providing supporters with the right resources and encouragement. In order to understand what tools your typical fundraisers need, identify different groups based on their common fears or objections, as well as their particular passions for a specific type of program. This will give you a better understanding of the resources you’ll need to generate to make your potential fundraisers feel confident.

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Image Credit: Paxson Woelber

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