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What’s holding you back from fundraising success?

Updated March 28, 2024 by Virginia Davidson

What's holding you back from fundraising success?

Is it possible that your fundraising success is being held back by a lack of systems, procedures, or knowledge? While it can be uncomfortable to acknowledge those issues in your work, pinpointing problems can help you prioritize solving them.

Consider the following scenarios that can thwart your fundraising success

  • An organization accepts event registrations through multiple systems, but that information is never added to their donor management system. This leads to event attendees never receiving follow-up communication and the organization misses an opportunity to convert those event attendees to donors.
  • A small team of dedicated volunteers handles gift entry for a non-profit. Their hearts are in the right place – but their data entry is inconsistent. Those inconsistencies prevent running accurate reports so there isn’t a clear picture of how much is being raised through various fundraising appeals.
  • A fundraiser isn’t confident about how to acknowledge in-kind gifts and puts the task off. They put it off for so long that those in-kind donors never receive an acknowledgment. The donors don’t feel appreciated or even noticed, and few if any are retained as supporters.

Taken a day at a time, any of those scenarios may seem like minor inconveniences or oversights. When there are other, time sensitive issues to address at your organization, it’s easy to minimize hiccups in your fundraising operations and tell yourself you’ll address them someday. But, someday keeps getting pushed to the future. And meanwhile, your fundraising success is hindered. You’re missing out on prospective donors, you’re frustrated by your inability to generate accurate reports, and some of your donors aren’t getting the acknowledgments they are due.

When you identify the specific issues that hinder your fundraising efforts, you can clearly see how to resolve them.

Here are some ways to increase your fundraising success

  • Set up a system so that all your event attendees get imported to your donor management system on a regular basis. You establish a plan to follow up with event attendees to encourage them to become donors.
  • Develop gift entry procedures and work with your volunteers to train them. That leads to greater consistency and enables you to accurately report on your fundraising efforts.
  • Invest some time familiarizing yourself with how to acknowledge in-kind gifts. With increased confidence, avoidance will be less likely leading to greater retention of in-kind donors. 


When you assess your fundraising operations and are honest with yourself about problem areas, it becomes possible to prioritize solutions so you can  fundraise effectively going forward.

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