The Fundraising Funnel – Part 2: Two Common Mistakes

In this series of blog posts I’m talking about the Fundraising Funnel. Click here to read Part 1: An Introduction.


Before we look deeper in to the Fundraising Funnel and start to improve upon how you’re using it, I wanted to share the two biggest mistakes I see organisations making when I start working with them. They are: (1) not having a goal, and (2) not starting the relationship.


So ask yourself the following questions:

1. Where are you trying to get people to?

What is the ultimate goal here? If you’re trying to get people to donate or fundraise then consider if your actions are moving people towards that. Is this interaction you’re spending time and money on going to motivate them to give or is it going deepen the relationship and warm them up for a future ask? Or neither?

A common conversation I have goes something like this:
“We want to increase our following on social media.”
“So more people know what we do.”
“So more people care about us.”

It can go on for a while. Sooner or later we’ll come to the conclusion that the goal is to raise more money, which sparks the question of whether this is the most effective way to raise money. It might also greatly affect our strategy: I’d prefer to have 100 followers on social media who donate rather than 100,000 who won’t.

Or perhaps your goal isn’t simply about raising money. Maybe you do need to genuinely raise awareness or get numbers behind your mission.

The point is to be clear about the ultimate goals because, as we’ll see in the next set of blog posts, if you don’t know that then you can’t start mapping out the road we want to take our supporters on. And your next interaction might be wasted.


2. Where are you trying to get people from?

We can’t expect people to support us until there is some sort of relationship there. Now a relationship can be formed in a few seconds or minutes, or it can take years. But it has to start somewhere.

Instead of asking, “Why aren’t people donating to us?” try asking, “Why would anyone donate to us?”

There are countless different causes out there and infinite ways we can spend our money, so why is anyone going to give it to you? What value have you given them? What trust have you established? What experiences have you shared?

Consider where your Fundraising Funnel might start and where you can initiate these relationships. Are people coming to you for information? Are you networking? Attracting visitors to your website through free Google Ads? Are you knocking on doors? Writing to companies? Have a stand at an event?

Are you capturing e-mail addresses and phone numbers? Are you getting opt-ins? Are you inspiring and engaging? Are you inviting? Offering? Asking?

There are so many places we can (and already do) interact with potential supporters…but we don’t want them to pass like ships in the night. How can we pull them in to our Fundraising Funnel and what’s the next step?


While we’ll need to consider every step and every interaction in our funnel, the first step and the [first] goal are perhaps the most important. 

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