Are you ready to dig into the world of nonprofit fundraising failure? We uncover the top ten fundraising failures and how to sidestep them. We’re joined by the brilliant Jack Alotto CFRE, a seasoned expert from the Fundraising Academy at National University. In this part one of a two-part series, we explore embracing strategic planning, crafting compelling narratives, understanding donor motivations, and prioritizing stewardship.

Jack begins with comments on the importance of strategic planning, stating, “Failure to have a strategic development and marketing plan is a recipe for disaster.” He underscores the significance of a strategic plan as the foundation for future fundraising endeavors, followed by a development plan to outline funding strategies and a marketing plan to communicate with stakeholders effectively.

Continuing, Jack stresses the critical role of a compelling case for support, describing it as the “rationale for philanthropic support.” He highlights the versatility of a well-crafted case for support, which can be repurposed across various fundraising initiatives, from annual campaigns to grant proposals, amplifying its impact on donor engagement.

When it comes to prospect research, Jack advocates for a multi-pronged approach, leveraging existing networks, volunteers, and strategic questioning techniques. He points to the value of building relationships with donors, citing volunteers as potential major donors and emphasizing the need for open-ended questioning to uncover donor motivations.

Jack’s shares specific insights on donor motivations, emphasizing the diversity of factors driving philanthropic giving, from shared values to emotional connections and societal impact. He emphasizes the importance of understanding donor motivations to tailor fundraising approaches effectively, dispelling the notion that donor size equates to commitment.

Lastly, Jack describes the significance of stewardship in the donor lifecycle, stating, “Making the ask is a small part; stewardship is the bigger part.” He advocates for engaging volunteers in fundraising efforts and stresses the importance of learning from mistakes.