Organizations who are just starting out know the urgent need for funding. Led by people who, while good-hearted, don’t understand the fundamentals of fundraising sustainability. They’re often looking for the visible, known, quick solutions to funding their missions. Many times they jumped head first into programs that they find they cannot fund. It is these nonprofits who bought into the myths of nonprofit fundraising.


Myth #1:  Grants will fund us.


I see so many nonprofits think grants are this end-all-be-all answer to funding. The truth is -it is the icing on the cake, not the cake. Grants can help with general operating expenses and specific programs but the funders want to see a measurable track record of success by the organization and / or the program. They want to know you are a good investment and don’t want to be the only one investing. If you don’t have community support, individual donors support, or a few years of numbers, then you aren’t seen as a good investment. Grants should come after you have achieved the 9 steps and have a three-year track record of your program.


Myth #2:  The founder has to fund the organization.


Does your fundraising consist of how much the founder puts into the organization? If you answered yes, then you’ve bought into Myth #2. The truth is – the board should be the first to step up and contribute. Period. They are closest to your mission and have a fiscal responsibility to the organization. This responsibility includes financially contributing to the mission. Once they are contributing, you work out from there. This blog post spells out the steps.


Myth #3: Asking for money is icky /slimy / sales-y


The truth is – if you feel asking for money is somehow bad, then you have a bigger problem. Studies show that people like to give. It sets off the pleasure center of the brain. The initial letting go of the money may not be pleasurable to some but once they give, they actually find pleasure. Your job is not to convince them to give but hand them an opportunity to give. Most people are willing to give (especially if you have a relationship with them),  they just need to be asked. And sometimes, as one coaching client told me, “I don’t ask most of the time. I simply share what my nonprofit is doing and who I’m helping and they ask me who they can write the check to!”


How do you overcome these myths?


Let’s try mindset issues for limiting beliefs. We all have them and they came at some point in our lives where we were verbally told and our experience was interpreted to support the myths. It is the constant voice in our head that naysays any attempt to look at these myths from a different perspective. You have to change the dialogue in your head. Instead of this grant will save us, expand your thinking and write a 12-month fundraising plan. Get your board involved ( to help with myth number two). From myth number two, get some board training on roles and responsibilities. You can hire someone or get your board involved by asking them to bring three to five responsibilities they found for boards. Ask them to share at the next board meeting. You can use the resources from this post to help them find the information.

Which myth surprised you?


Which myth are you going to change today? Head over to Mathis Nonprofit Services Facebook page to share your thoughts.

If you need help, check out my services for fundraising plans or coaching programs. Why not diversify your funding with a fundraising letter? October is the month to do this! Check out the appeal resources page.

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