It happens to everyone.

At some point, you’ll take your eye off the prize long enough to realize there are lots of other nonprofits out there, and they’re all asking for money, just like you.

It’s easy to worry. “What if more people give to them instead of us? Their cause is sexier than ours!”

Should you worry about competing for donations with established nonprofits?

The answer is simple – No.  There’s enough money out there for everyone.

If everyone who gives to charity simply gave 1% more, we’d all be swimming in resources!  Instead of worrying about competitors, focus on increasing your giving 1%.

You must ditch the small thinking.

Worrying about competition comes from a negative money mindset. It comes from a line of thinking that assumes there’s a winner and a loser. When someone else wins, you lose.

You’re likely comparing your nonprofit to others, and from the outside, lots of groups look really successful. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they’re better than you or doing better work than you or more deserving of someone’s donation.

You have to stop.

Focus on the lives that are being changed because of the work your nonprofit does. Believe in what you’re doing and others will too.

Not too long ago, there was a story in the news of a million dollar gift given to the local university.  Many smaller nonprofits told me they were feeling depressed about it.  They want to receive that level of gift, but weren’t sure they ever could.

I certainly understand, but here’s the truth about competition among nonprofits:  People give to organizations and causes they care about.

Your job is to keep doing business as usual in your Development office and know that, if anything, this proves that there is plenty of money out there to be donated.  Don’t worry about what another organization is doing – stay focused on your dreams, your vision, your goals, and your plan.

The best thing you can do is to continue to build relationships with your donors.  Keep getting to know them.  Keep taking them to lunch.  Keep sending handwritten notes.  Keep learning about them and why they care about your organization. Keep giving them a good experience with your nonprofit.

And don’t be afraid of any other organization’s success.  In fact, be grateful.  When individuals feel the rush from making a large gift, it usually encourages them to want to do it again. Next time, it could be you receiving a large gift!

  1. Some friends and I started learning this information about ten years ago. It wasn’t long before several of us were thinking seriously about donating a kidney to someone who needed it. There was almost a race to see who could be first. We now understand that this is not unusual, that often family members have a similar competition in order to be able to save the life of a loved one. And others who have donated to strangers have said that they felt the same keen desire to be accepted as a donor, because they felt, like us, that it would be a great experience.

  2. Thank you verymuch for your advice, I have a new non-profit ‘PEOPLE AGAINST POVERTY IN THE WORLD’ (PAPOW) that currently don’t have any Donor funding, but I know very soon it will be my time to get as many people as possible to support my Non-profit.

  3. We have to get over thinking of “my” donors and “my” money. Let’s celebrate the gifts people give to the causes they believe in, not wonder why it was not “us”! Did we actually ask that donor? Probably not!

    We are not competing for need – there is much need and many people to serve. But let’s do communicate with each other the embark on cooperation, coordination, and maybe even collaboration.

    Keep reminding us, Sandy!!


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