Nonprofits Fail at Following Through and It’s Time to Fix It [Part One]

Good ideas are only as good as their execution.

If Benjamin Franklin had only made the statement “lightning is electricity” and never followed up on his beliefs, it could’ve been years before some of his inventions came to light (pun intended).

You can be Ben Franklin (for the sake of this example) if you try! So, let’s start at the core.

Where Nonprofit Follow-Through is Necessary (And We’re Failing):

— After an Event

Once you’ve secured the donation, the follow-up is vital. Don’t leave guests wondering where their money went or how much was raised. Transparency in the nonprofit sector is important; to build trust in a time where we need it most. Think of a fun way to reveal the success of your event and make sure you reach every single attendee.

“Don’t leave guests wondering where their money went or how much was raised.”

— Securing a Donation

We’ve talked before about follow-through associated with nabbing a donation, and just last week we hit on the persuasion techniques that you should be embracing. Don’t let a warm donor become frigid to your nonprofit. A lack of organizational skills leads to zero nonprofit follow-through which leads to losing a donor. That’s why donor management tools are a must.

“A lack of organizational skills leads to zero follow-through which leads to losing a donor.”

— Grant Writing 

While some grants only require pre-grant pitches, it’s still good practice to follow-up with the grantor, even if they don’t ask you to. Offer your thanks and show them what they helped you achieve. Building relationships in the process will set you up for future grants.

— Landing Pages

Nothing’s worse than getting a note on a donation page that says “Your purchase has been processed” or even worse — a blank page. Trust me, it happens — and your donors notice. Think through every aspect of your online donation process. Sit down with somebody who has never navigated your site and see if they can complete the donation process from start to finish with ease.

“Think through every aspect of your online donation process.”

Cited Reasons for Poor Nonprofit Follow-Through

With so many aspects relying on follow-through, what’s stopping organizations and why does it even matter? Much like most things nonprofits don’t exceed at, these are some reasons I consistently hear for why nonprofits fail at the follow-up:

  • Lack of resources
  • Not enough time
  • A vastly changing sector
  • Understaffed

Those are just some of the reasons nonprofiteers don’t follow through on new projects, donations, marketing efforts and even new and innovative thinking.

It’s time to push the envelope—we’ve got to shake things up.

Stay tuned for part two next week, where I’ll break down how to combat the excuses of poor nonprofit follow-through. In the meantime, I challenge you to try to brainstorm with your staff some of the top reasons your organization is failing at follow-through. Do they match the list above? What specific things could your organization be doing to address those issues? We’ll help you out with some answers of our own coming soon.