Who’s the devil? You are!

This post on 101fundraising makes me happy: I Am The Comms Devil.

Here’s why: The writer, Margaux Smith, attended a workshop led by Australian fundraising hero Sean Triner at the recent International Fundraising Congress (IFC), where she made an important discovery about the difference between messages that win awards and please professionals — and messages that actually work:

I love award-winning drivel. I guess you can hear something a million times but you need to be shown in order for it to really sink in. This was my ah-ha! moment.

Congratulations, Margaux. You’ve learned something that many in our profession never quite figure out: We fundraisers are not our own target audience.

You see, probably the most common cause of bad fundraising is fundraisers mistaking ourselves for our donors — and creating messages that make us feel good. Once you’ve made that leap of the imagination so you can step outside the closed loop of your own taste and preferences, you are free to do things right.

There’s nothing wrong with liking what you like. There’s nothing wrong with your taste, but that’s all it is — your taste. It tells you nothing about what donors will respond to. In fact, anyone who’s been around the block a few times will tell you: The more we like it, the worse it will do in the marketplace. In other words, your personal preference works best as a counter-indicator of quality.

It took me several years and many painful experiences to figure this out. The young fundraiser who establishes this knowledge early is going to do very well in our profession.

Check out Stupid Nonprofit Ads for more “award-winning drivel.”


Comments

4 responses to “Who’s the devil? You are!”

  1. Jeff Brooks, you just made my day 🙂

  2. Jeff Brooks, you just made my day 🙂

  3. Thanks for spreading Margaux’s great blog!

  4. Thanks for spreading Margaux’s great blog!

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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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