Bad advice for fundraisers

There’s a fun post at the MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog: What’s the Worst Marketing Advice You Ever Received?

Some of the bad marketing advice:


  • “If you build it, they will come.”
  • “If we make a brochure, we’ll increase sales.”
  • “Just have the intern do it.”
  • “A/B testing can wait.”

Bad advice is a plentiful commodity. Here’s some common bad advice heard in fundraising circles:


  • “When donors give, let them “rest” from hearing from you for awhile.”
  • “Nobody reads any more. Let’s cut way back on our direct mail.”
  • “Let’s hire someone who’s spent their career in commercial marketing to revamp our brand.”
  • “Let’s replace our elderly donors with hip and affluent young donors.”

What’s the worst fundraising advice you’ve heard lately? Share it in the comments below!


Comments

20 responses to “Bad advice for fundraisers”

  1. “just send them what we sent them last year – they’ll still respond…”

  2. “just send them what we sent them last year – they’ll still respond…”

  3. Three from this week alone:
    “Major donors don’t give online.”
    “Email is dead. Reach out on social media instead.”
    “Text-to-give is the #1 way to reach Gen Y donors.”

  4. Three from this week alone:
    “Major donors don’t give online.”
    “Email is dead. Reach out on social media instead.”
    “Text-to-give is the #1 way to reach Gen Y donors.”

  5. “Our new head of marketing thinks the print version of our donor newsletter is too expensive to produce, and wants to go all-digital. Please give your thoughts.”
    “We have a multi-layer review process for fundraising appeal copy that includes all seven department heads.”

  6. “Our new head of marketing thinks the print version of our donor newsletter is too expensive to produce, and wants to go all-digital. Please give your thoughts.”
    “We have a multi-layer review process for fundraising appeal copy that includes all seven department heads.”

  7. 🙂 those are cool – you made me laugh in this sleepy afternoon 🙂

  8. 🙂 those are cool – you made me laugh in this sleepy afternoon 🙂

  9. “Don’t waste money sending thank-you letters.”
    “Our donors can’t cope with more than one ask at a time.”
    “Don’t send cash appeals to committed givers.

  10. “Don’t waste money sending thank-you letters.”
    “Our donors can’t cope with more than one ask at a time.”
    “Don’t send cash appeals to committed givers.

  11. “Let’s get the opinion of the comms team”
    “let’s make a viral video”

  12. “Let’s get the opinion of the comms team”
    “let’s make a viral video”

  13. Ann Tydeman Solomon Avatar
    Ann Tydeman Solomon

    “The Board Chair’s name is on the letter, so he should write it.”

  14. Ann Tydeman Solomon Avatar
    Ann Tydeman Solomon

    “The Board Chair’s name is on the letter, so he should write it.”

  15. Karen Pehla Avatar
    Karen Pehla

    Great fun to read all this. Had a good laugh! Best wishes, Karen Pehla (Relationship Fundraising, NABU, Berlin)

  16. Karen Pehla Avatar
    Karen Pehla

    Great fun to read all this. Had a good laugh! Best wishes, Karen Pehla (Relationship Fundraising, NABU, Berlin)

  17. I love this one: “Our new head of marketing thinks the print version of our donor newsletter is too expensive to produce, and wants to go all-digital.” My answer to that is ‘off with his head’ ala Queen of Hearts.

  18. I love this one: “Our new head of marketing thinks the print version of our donor newsletter is too expensive to produce, and wants to go all-digital.” My answer to that is ‘off with his head’ ala Queen of Hearts.

  19. “Let’s ignore the advice of our professional communications agency. After all it’s quite funny that our charity name is a swear word”
    or
    “But you are our investment in fundraising, I had no idea you would need a budget as well” from a chairman to the first ever fundraiser at a charity
    or
    “Donors aren’t that clever or that interested, let’s dumb it down more or even gloss over the facts if necessary”

  20. “Let’s ignore the advice of our professional communications agency. After all it’s quite funny that our charity name is a swear word”
    or
    “But you are our investment in fundraising, I had no idea you would need a budget as well” from a chairman to the first ever fundraiser at a charity
    or
    “Donors aren’t that clever or that interested, let’s dumb it down more or even gloss over the facts if necessary”

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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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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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