Fundraising is good for them too

If you look at charitable giving as a mere transaction, it’s pretty lop-sided: Whatever the donors gives, she longer has. She gets nothing in return, other than a fairly minor tax incentive (depending on the country she’s in). The fundraiser walks away with all the money, all the advantage.


No wonder so many people in the nonprofit world feel vaguely guilty and a little bit cheesy.


They shouldn’t. The donor gets quite a lot back. Nicholas Kristof’s recent New York Times column points this out at Our Basic Human Pleasures: Food, Sex and Giving:



Brain scans by neuroscientists confirm that altruism carries its own rewards. [One project] found that when a research subject was encouraged to think of giving money to a charity, parts of the brain lit up that are normally associated with selfish pleasures like eating or sex.


So at a time of vast needs, from Haiti to our own cities, here’s a nice opportunity for symbiosis: so many afflicted people, and so much benefit to us if we try to help them. Let’s remember that while charity has a mixed record helping others, it has an almost perfect record of helping ourselves. Helping others may be as primal a human pleasure as food or sex.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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