Uncomfortable fundraising

Jonathan’s blog asks a great question about fundraising: Should we Make em uncomfortable?

Jonathan says fundraising should make people uncomfortable. And I agree.

But his question made me realize something: A lot of fundraisers spend enormous energy trying to make sure their work causes nobody any discomfort whatsoever.

This is why so much fundraising is watered-down, namby-pamby, dull — and unsuccessful. Large committees are assembled to sniff out and destroy any semblance of emotion or anything else that might raise an eyebrow.

Real fundraising creates discomfort — it makes it clear to a donor that something needs to be done.


Comments

2 responses to “Uncomfortable fundraising”

  1. Mary Robinson Avatar
    Mary Robinson

    Fundraising is a balance. I tend to see my job as sales – I’m selling donors and future donors on our mission and – more importantly – where they fit in, how they can and will make an impact on lives. People are smart. You don’t need to make them uncomfortable to make them understand urgency. You do need to help them understand they have the power to make a difference.
    So, that said….I don’t make donors uncomfortable. Maybe this is very midwest of me but I think that is kind of rude.
    However, I do not have a problem pushing my board members to engage in fund development actively. And here I bring out my teacher hat. Many are scared and don’t realize the power they have. And some are just plain lazy. I truly believe in the commitment of a board member. They don’t get to sit on a board just so their resume looks better.

  2. Mary Robinson Avatar
    Mary Robinson

    Fundraising is a balance. I tend to see my job as sales – I’m selling donors and future donors on our mission and – more importantly – where they fit in, how they can and will make an impact on lives. People are smart. You don’t need to make them uncomfortable to make them understand urgency. You do need to help them understand they have the power to make a difference.
    So, that said….I don’t make donors uncomfortable. Maybe this is very midwest of me but I think that is kind of rude.
    However, I do not have a problem pushing my board members to engage in fund development actively. And here I bring out my teacher hat. Many are scared and don’t realize the power they have. And some are just plain lazy. I truly believe in the commitment of a board member. They don’t get to sit on a board just so their resume looks better.

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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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