Take this true/false quick quiz to test your knowledge of fundraising basics.

  1. Both your executive director and board president should sign your fundraising appeal letters.
  2. Fundraising efforts are mostly a matter of telling potential funders about your organization and what it does,
  3. One of the most important parts of a fundraising appeal letter is to bullet point highlight your organization accomplishments in the last year.
  4. Use of stories should be everywhere in your organization, including your website, appeal letters and annual events.
  5. Organizations waste too much time and money chasing former supporters. After someone stopped giving in the last year, you should drop them from future mailings.
  6. It’s essential for ALL board members to give before you begin soliciting gifts from others.
  7. Too many organizations focus on filling a board docket by ensuring they have all slots on a grid checked off (attorney, accountant, senior, expert from the field, etc).
  8. Don’t ever admit your mistake and apologize to a donor, as it might open you up for liability problems.

Answers to quiz

  1. FALSE: There is a lot of evidence that only one person should be signing your appeal letters. This changes a bit if you have someone who has a personal connection and she wants to jot down a handwritten personal note, but it is generally a bad idea for two or three people to sign your appeal letters.
  2. FALSE: It is ALWAYS about your funder, not your organization. How are you going to make a foundation look good with their donation? How are you going to make your community better? Those two items matter a lot, while your organization does not…at least in your fundraising messaging.
  3. FALSE: While this is commonly done, it usually IS NOT very effective. It’s much more important to pull at heart-strings and create a bond with your donor than to spew a series of accomplishments about your organization.
  4. TRUE: When we were children, we loved hearing stories, and the same is true for adults. Your website should tell a story and so should all of your fundraising efforts.
  5. FALSE: Okay, at least partly false. Once a year you should be checking who has stopped giving. A good fundraising practice is to send them a letter asking if they want to be removed from your mailing list. You get your organization on their minds again, and often that is part of the battle. Donors who haven’t given in several years can be dropped, but I would try one last effort of contact before the final decision to stop including them in your fundraising efforts.
  6. TRUE. Explore this website for long, and you’ll likely come across this message often. If you serve on a board, you better be a donor to the cause. It rings completely hollow for anyone to ask for donations when he or she has not personally given first. There really are no acceptable arguments to the contrary.
  7. TRUE: Too often boards seem content to be able to say they have checked off all the boxes of different areas of a grid. Yes, you need to have diversity, but if you have a board that will not get and give, they need to get off the board. If you recruited your board without explaining they would be expected to raise funds, you can explain that things have changed. And all new board members should be made aware that they will be part of any fundraising efforts.
  8. FALSE: I was once given this advice by an attorney, and vehemently disagree. Admit your mistakes and apologize sincerely. And don’t ever make the same mistake twice.