Turns out disasters aren’t especially funny

You know when someone gets everything right except the main point? That’s what STILLERSTRONG is like.


Stupidads

It’s an ad-hoc charity featuring actor Ben Stiller that’s raising money to rebuild schools in Haiti through Architecture for Humanity. (Oddly enough, a quick search of Architecture for Humanity’s website turns up only sidelong references to STILLERSTRONG.)


STILLERSTRONG has it all:



  • You can watch a series of (very funny) videos!
  • You can text to give on your cell phone!
  • You can buy a headband!
  • You can follow Ben on Twitter!
  • You can be a Facebook fan!
  • You can even give a gift.

Impressive. There’s everything except information about the need they’re raising funds for. A couple of scant, unemotional paragraphs of description. A series of remarkably unremarkable still photos. The story of poverty, broken lives, and the hope for change — well, you’re gonna have to supply that yourself, because it’s nowhere to be found at STILLERSTRONG.


STILLERSTRONG isn’t about people in Haiti. It’s a funny story about a hapless, empty Hollywood persona. Haiti is just a prop — they might as well be raising money for “Berserkistan.” It’s competent comedy, but incompetent fundraising.


I hesitate to classify this as Stupid Nonprofit Marketing, because anything that makes me laugh has a place in my heart. But STILLERSTRONG makes the same mistake that most Stupid Nonprofit Marketing does: It misses the central point of all fundraising, which is You can change the world!


Effective fundraising isn’t about symbolism, puns, beautiful imagery, or even comedy. It’s about specific ways real donors can make the world better.


Celebrities, well-done YouTube videos, text-to-give, Twitter, Facebook … those are all fine. They can help you raise money. But you need to start with the philanthropic principle: You can change the world!


So if a consultant comes to you with a really cool idea — make sure they’re going to focus on the basics. No matter how cutting-edge, celebrity-connected, and just plain hipper-than-thou they seem. You don’t need this kind of noise.


But do watch the videos. They’re really funny.



Or watch it at YouTube.


The one where he hires some “Celebrity Philanthropy Consultants” is especially good.


More Stupid Nonprofit Ads.


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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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