I’ve been on both the seeking and the giving side of fundraising. While I don’t know the how to fund raise, I know some things not to do. This is from my perspective as a giver?
What not to do (every one of these has happened to us):
(1) Don’t insult your donor. We invited a recipient of a large scholarship to our house and he began to insult our manner of speaking English. Our church had a vacation bible camp which featured a fictional quest for a “blue-cheeked-bee-eater”. The man didn’t know about this bird, and so he said that if the bird didn’t exist that we were liars. He told us that our sparkling water was a “waste of money” when we could get free water out of the tap. Needless to say, we took offence. Also, if you are a school, don’t unnecessarily berate an alumnus and refuse any action to rectify the situation, as Prof. John Stackhouse did to me, and then later the director of development of Regent College contacted me to ask if my wife and I were planning to give to the school. Hello!
(2) Don’t casually break an appointment with a donor or break off part of the appointment. Yesterday, the director of a Canadian branch of an international mission organization came to a church after accepting an invitation to speak with lunch following. Apparently he forgot the lunch and booked a trip to Ethiopia. He couldn’t stay for the lunch because he left his luggage in Waterloo and his flight left at 4:00 pm. Why not re-schedule so that those who prepared the lunch would be standing there looking like idiots for having spent money on the food? Or why not bring the luggage along, saving a minimum of two hours driving time? The mission group wanted to expose the rest of the church to this mission, so some of us spent our own money to prepare this lunch. It is bad form, and unfortunately, this mission will likely not be the recipient of too much more from our church.
(3) Don’t fail to live up to your end of the bargain. A few of the recipients of scholarships, for which we’ve helped pay, have failed explicit agreements to return to Africa after their studies. If you say you are going to go back to Africa, then go back to Africa. And just for the benefit of the sending churches in Africa and elsewhere: don’t send someone who isn’t going to return because the funding for such ventures will dry up fast. You are sending liars and scoundrels.
(4) Don’t start promoting communism, socialism, global warming, leftist politics, statism, or relativistic moral standards. If you do, then don’t be surprised if your donors, who are generally hard-working business people with conservative values, become upset and shut down the funds. Consider that we pay sufficient in taxes already, and we don’t need more government regulation and taxes. That will only make our generosity dry up. Instead, lobby against statism. Then your generous donors will have more still to give to you. Don’t be idiots. We worship an all-powerful god not an all-benevolent government. We are theists not statists. If a socialist comes begging me for charitable money, I just say, “I gave at the office”–which is literally true because of withholding taxes. Also, a school we’ve given to has a adjunct professor who says that Jack Layton knew Jesus because he helped a lesbien couple find an apartment. Time to get rid of that professor or lose donors, don’t you think?
(5) Don’t negotiate in bad faith. This means don’t tell your donor that you are going to break your previous agreement if he doesn’t fork over even more money and better arrangements for you.
Well, these are some of the “don’t”s that I’ve personally encountered. Perhaps you could add some more. Or perhaps you disagree. The comments are open.