Fundraising is NOT Sales

Whether you’re new to charity or are a seasoned fundraiser, acquiring funds for a good cause is doubtless extremely hard work. Successful fundraising takes rigorous planning: you need to establish a target, formulate creative plans to raise money, and source contacts from which to procure funds.

Fundraisers come in all shapes and forms – there’s no set formula, but a good work ethic is a must! In terms of planning and personality, fundraising has a lot of parallels with making sales. For instance, there is the need to establish a good rapport with others and to know where to find the right contacts. However, the goals are very different – as WatchMojo CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan puts it, sales people make bad fundraisers. This is just one of the many reasons that fundraising is not sales.

The bottom line

For a salesperson, his or her focus is always on the bottom line – that is, how he or she can get the best deal that makes both the client and the seller feel like a winner. This will doubtless take a lot of negotiation to reach said deal.

The same cannot be said for fundraising – ideally, fundraisers should try to gain as much capital as they can from potential donors, while the benefits are not as tangible. Certainly, contributing to a great cause is great PR, but in shrewd business terms, it’s not guaranteed profit.

Fundraising relies on word of mouth

Salespeople will promise their clients that they only work with them, and none of their competitors. In fundraising, the reverse is true – we want donors to tell as many people about our cause as possible!

Fundraising is more difficult

Salespersons will tell you that sales is the hardest job in the world – try fundraising! With so many good causes with which to compete, it is up to the fundraiser to appeal to the human interest element of the cause. Fundraisers need to find a way to appeal to their donors without offering explicit incentives, instead focusing on the importance of the cause.

While it’s undeniable that there are similarities between both roles, fundraising is a challenging and arguably more rewarding experience which we should all try at some point in our lives.

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