Mental Barriers to Overcome for Successful Fundraising


The thought of asking for a personal contribution to a nonprofit’s cause, worthwhile or not, instills a sense of dread and fear in some people. They know how vital fundraising is to advance the organization’s mission, but they can’t seem to brush off the anxiety that comes with asking people to part with their hard-earned money. This is a normal feeling to have, as people aren’t usually taught the skills to ask for money in a dignified, respectful way while still keeping their sense of pride intact. Sometimes, there is even a stigma surrounding the act.

However, fundraising for a nonprofit is often a task that falls on the organizations’ entire team, even if it’s not stated in the job description. If we were to use an analogy, a family in Lehi would share the responsibility of say, cleaning the carpet or fixing up the house if they want their home to be an outstanding and comfortable space in the neighborhood.  Program staff, volunteers, board members, and even the beneficiaries themselves can become advocates and ambassadors to a nonprofit organization’s vision for a better world. That is the first step to fundraising. Once people are sold on your mission, it’s easy to ask them for their contribution as they can see the impact of their support to the communities. Here are a few mental barriers you must overcome to successfuly raise funds for your cause:

  1. Asking people for money seems like begging

Money is a form of currency in exchange for something of value. While nonprofit donors don’t get a tangible item in exchange for their gift, they acquire an opportunity to help serve less fortunate communities and promote an advocacy they are passionate about. You are not asking for money just to get money, but you’re asking people to serve a higher purpose through philanthropy. Reframing fundraising as storytelling can help one focus on connecting with people by sharing what they’re passionate about. When someone tells their story of why they’re involved or what made them donate, then it becomes manageable to ask other people to join you in supporting the nonprofit.

  1. It takes a stronger person to handle rejections

Life is full of rejections and mishaps and learning how to navigate through the chaos is a skill everyone must develop. Even successful people are not immune to rejection. Take Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for instance. She got turned down 12 times before a publisher agreed to print her manuscript. What would have happened if Rowling decided to stop at the 11th try? What makes it easier to handle all the no’s is the thought that you are generating resources for something bigger than yourself. Constituents are counting on you to deliver.

  1. The “I don’t know any rich friends” excuse

While it is true that nonprofit organizations benefit greatly from major gifts, it is still possible for a donor to support a nonprofit no matter their financial status. Every contribution, no matter the size, is vital to keep a nonprofit going in achieving their goals. People are not limited to giving financial help, either. They can volunteer their time and talents, promote the advocacy, and organize fundraising events.

  1. Fundraising is a skill you’re born with

VolunteerPeople are gifted with both strengths and weaknesses, but it doesn’t mean they are not able to grow beyond their limits. Like any other physical skill, fundraising is a muscle that must be developed. By working out regularly and sticking to a practice routine, a person can develop into a skilled athlete. Same goes for developing the competency to be good at fundraising. After all, fundraising is not only about asking. It also takes good storytelling, relationship building, effective communication, and persuasive speaking. All these are much-sought-after skills in other industries, not just in the development sector.

Your first time at doing anything will always be a little scary and awkward, that’s part of the learning process. But with practice and overcoming all the mental roadblocks, fundraising can be a fulfilling and enjoyable activity that anyone can do.

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