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  • Peg Steele

Why Fundraising is so Difficult and Why People Don't Give

We as a new non-profit have learned a lot about fund raising. The general public does not understand that a non-profit is usually started by one or a few individuals who believe in a cause and think they have a new angle or way of helping a particular problem. They spend thousands of dollars of their own money getting set up and often supporting the mission our of their own pockets for months while awaiting IRS approval of the 501(C)(3) status. Then they pull the fund raising trigger only to find that those hoops are more exhausting and frustrating then getting the IRS approval to begin with. Corporations won't donate until you have been around for two to three years. Posting fund raising buttons on Go Fund Me, Fundly and Facebook is tough because they check to find your IRS status and many use a third party organization as a background tool to do the checking. They might not update theire database but once a quarter. So you end up with another four months of waiting. But you still have faith and you ask anyway. How hard is it for someone to give even a single dollar you think to yourself? Well it is nearly impossible. People look at you as that organization that someone else will fund. Or they don't have their wallets at their desk when it occures to them it might be a good cause. They've heard horror stories about miss managed non-profits and have sworn off of them all together. They gave at work, they gave to the guy at the Walmart, they give their time. These are all reasons but rarely is it that they don't have a single dollar to spare. The population that is meant to benefit from the various organization doesn't give because it is meant for them but they don't realize that if everyone who would or could benefit from the organization donated just a dollar, they could change the world just one dollar at a time. Things to keep in mind when giving is the type of organization. Clubs are supported by its members and donors. Club activities almost entirely are for the members however most have a single cause that they will help to support once or twice a year. Again that support almost always comes from its members. Foundations usually are funded by an individual or famiy. The largest of the foundations take in donations and have a portfolio of causes they support. Some foundations give to other non-profit organizations to help with their causes keeping their focus very open. Medical non profits that work for a cure are very specific and they tend to do well in the donation area. They are large organizations such as the Cancer Society. Then you have those that focus on homelessness, hunger, litteracy and education. These are the most common of all non-profits. Non-profits that benfit animals such as dogs, cats and horses. They do well because they have the animal lover and who doesn't like a cute puppy dog headed to the gas chamber. Then there are the international causes. Save the Rain Forests, PETA, Fresh drinking water causes. These tend to get the liberal world thinker donation. But our Heroe causes are hard to tackle. Most individuals are giving to the largest of the organizations. Each of these organization have their own portfolio of focus and missions. Corporate grants are typically for kids, education, hunger with a few focused on disaster assistance and environmental issues. So how do non-profits like Trek for Heroes, Inc. get funded. It takes a lot of good words; PR; and that one donor to kick the fund raising off. Your largest Non-profits when they are funding a huge campaign set their target then make the first donation to themselves of 10% of what they are looking to achieve. This gives the appearance of credibility. Trek for Heroes, Inc. and others like us don't have 10% to play that game with. Our funds go to our heroes and we scrape for those.

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