You have a lot of competition. Here's what to do.


According to the IRS, there are now 1.5 million charities in the United States.  What does that mean for you?  Most likely your charity is a very small fish in a very large pond.

So, what can you do to raise more money?

If you really want to raise more money — in other words, if you want to do as much good as you can — then you need to tell your beneficiaries’ stories in the most compelling way possible.

Here’s the biggest trap that nonprofits fall into; they think that what they do is so great that they let their communications get lazy.  If you’ve ever heard (or thought) either of these two ideas, you’ve fallen into the trap.

  • “We don’t understand why more people don’t support us.  What we’re doing here is so powerful!”
  • “Why do so many of our donors give only one gift but we never hear from them again?”

Here’s what happened.  Every day you go to work you see the work of your organization and how powerful it is.  You get so excited about how your organization does it’s work.  Then when it comes time to talk to your donors, you tell them what you are excited about.  You talk about your methods and your processes.  In other words, you talk about how you do your work instead of talking about what your work does.

But donors don’t care that much about how you do the work.  Donors care about the results you create with their gift.  So talk about results.

Look, we live in a country where there is one charity for every 200 people.  That’s a lot of competition for donor dollars.  But most charities do their fundraising like there are just 5 charities for their donors to choose from.  Dumb.  Right now, today, there are 1.5 million charities and the donor dollars are going to the organizations who produce amazing results and who tell their donors about the results their gifts caused.

So, make your case powerfully.  Focus on the results.

We believe that the work you are doing is making the world a better place right now.  Tell your donors what you did, not how you did it.



Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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