fundraising competitionAs humans, it’s our nature to watch those around us.

In fact, that’s where we get our cues for behavior and learn where we fit in the world.

Sometimes we feel intimidated by those we’re watching.

We might get jealous of their success or of what they have and we want it, too.

We might even think that the more they have, the less we can have.

In other words, we start to see those around us as our competition.

In the world of nonprofit, lots of people worry about the fundraising competition.

  • They’re intimidated by the bigger nonprofits who seem to attract all the big donors in town.
  • They worry when someone else has a great event because they think that means fewer sponsorship dollars for them.
  • They’re jealous of a successful fundraising campaign because they think that means people will be out of money and unable to give anywhere else.

I get it.

But here’s the truth: there’s only 1 organization you need to worry about. Yours.

That’s right. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Worry about what YOU’RE doing.

You see, fundraising is all about how you make donors feel, not who has the biggest office or the most likes on Facebook.

It’s about the depth of the connection you build with your supporters and whether they see themselves as a part of your team.

When donors feel connected, they give. When they feel unneeded, they go somewhere else to give.

Think about this: People give to 3-5 charities on average. That means your donors are giving to at least 2 other nonprofits and probably more.

Your job is to become their favorite nonprofit.

Your competition is internal. You need to be better today than you were yesterday; better this year than last year.

Here are 3 things you can focus on to improve your organization and raise more money:

1.Master communicating with your donors and prospects, constantly refining your messaging until you find something that people seem to love (because they’re giving as a result!).

nonprofit competition2. Measure what matters. Keep an eye on your donor retention. And how many donors are upgrading themselves. Those are indications of how much your donors love you. If you aren’t seeing the numbers you want, you have work to do to strengthen the connection donors feel.

3. Watch your mindset. Here’s the truth: There’s enough money out there for everyone. If you think there’s not, you have a poverty mentality and you’ll find yourself constantly worried about money. Nonprofits operating with a poverty mentality are proud of operating on a shoestring. They don’t like to spend money and when they do, they’re always looking for a discount. There’s nothing wrong with being frugal and getting a good deal, but when it spills over into squeezing pennies so tight they scream, you’re in danger of limiting the amount of money you can raise. If every time you look at the competition, you’re convinced they’re getting all the money, you’ve got some mindset work to do.


Believe this: Your donors are loyal to the cause.

Don’t even worry about other the nonprofit competition. If you’re doing a good job of connecting with your donors, they won’t leave you.

You see, donors are loyal to the cause – your organization’s work. They aren’t necessarily loyal to the nonprofit until you give them a reason to be.

That’s why consistent, heart-warming communication is so important and why we talk about relationship building all the time.

Your mission, if you want a big donor base of people who will stick with you through thick and thin, is to build loyalty with your donors.

Now here’s a counter-intuitive piece that you can use to your advantage.

It’s okay if your donors are giving to other nonprofits.

If your donors are giving to other nonprofits and being thanked well, those nonprofits are doing you a favor. Your donors are experiencing the joy of giving and they’ll want to give again, which is a good thing.

Likewise, if your donors are giving to other nonprofits and NOT having a good experience, it’ll be easy for you to wow them.

Your donors are going to give where they think their donation matters and where they feel good after giving.  So focus on giving them the best experience possible and you’ll come out on top.

You’ll set yourself so far apart, there won’t BE fundraising competition.