Fundraising mistakes and how to avoid them

Over on SOFII there’s a great new tutorial from Jerry Huntsinger called Mistakes that Brenda doesn’t need to make. These are real-life mistakes that a lot of fundraisers make.

I want to point out just a few of the more common and costly mistakes I see made all the time:


  • Believing that your donors are going to read your letter word for word.
  • Failure to understand that most literate people, highly educated or not, are most comfortable reading at a basic level.
  • Failure to understand and respect elderly women.
  • Being brainwashed by the philosophy that ‘our donors are busy and only have time to read short letters’.
  • Writing a package and then surrendering it to an artist.
  • Letting your donors go for months and months without having the opportunity to make a gift to your organization.
  • Pulling your large donors out of the communication flow.

But go read the whole tutorial. He gives 35 mistakes, all of them terrible, and all of them dismayingly frequent.


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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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