Why fundraising shouldn’t be edgy

I hope Otis Maxwell is right as he proclaims The end of “edgy”:

One of the side benefits of tough economic times is that fewer clients are asking for “edgy” work. Edgy we’ll define as “different for the sake of different”…. It’s a special request of marketing managers who want to be able to show around their work and get the compliment, “ooh, that’s edgy!”

So what’s the problem with edgy? Good creative grows from a solid understanding of product and audience and a calculated plan to put the two together, which may or may not produce something never seen before….

Let me second that.

Edgy almost never works in fundraising, because it’s about itself, not donors. You don’t want people saying, Look at that — it’s edgy! You want them to say, There’s something I need to do something about!

Edgy is also clearly a form of communication between young people. The older audiences that make up almost all donor groups don’t appreciate edgy.

Finally, edgy design is typically not very readable.

If you’re asking for “edgy” because you’re tired of the same-old stuff, you’re making a mistake.

Good fundraising is often pretty bland. It doesn’t call attention to itself, because it’s too busy call attention to the cause and the donor’s opportunity to make a difference.


Comments

6 responses to “Why fundraising shouldn’t be edgy”

  1. Well said. Basics and fundamentals make the impact.

  2. Well said. Basics and fundamentals make the impact.

  3. Thanks for the mention Jeff. I have been cluelessly sending people to your former blog and am glad to know where to find you at your new one!

  4. Thanks for the mention Jeff. I have been cluelessly sending people to your former blog and am glad to know where to find you at your new one!

  5. Interesting post. The important aspect here is the content, not necessarily the delivery. I know many of us spend hours of our time thinking about communication context but when you get to the bottom of it, a great story is what sells.

  6. Interesting post. The important aspect here is the content, not necessarily the delivery. I know many of us spend hours of our time thinking about communication context but when you get to the bottom of it, a great story is what sells.

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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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