The problem with facts in fundraising

Seth Godin brings up the gorilla in the fundraising room at The facts. His main point is this: A statement of fact is insufficient and often not even necessary to persuade someone of your point of view. (Interestingly, Seth realized that previous sentence is a fact, so he tells a story to make his point.)

Nonprofits so often ignore this truth, and make their fundraising efforts recitations of facts.

It doesn’t work.

Well, sometimes it works by accident. That’s when the facts trigger a donor to tell her own story, and that story motivates her to give.

You might as well stand on a street corner and yell “Zooming!” because it sounds like “Jiu ming!” which is “Help!” in Mandarin — and expect someone to help you.

If you want to get people to act, tell stories. Stories that show need and the opportunity for change.

It’s the only way that works.


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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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