The one thing you need to know in fundraising — and how to get it right

The Good Steward blog says there’s One Trick to Fundraising:

Know your donors.

And that’s true. When you know your donors, you can be relevant to them. You can aim your messaging at them, not yourself. You can spend less cultivating donors not likely to respond, and more on those who can make it worth it.

Knowing what your donors say is good.

But it’s much, much better to know what they do.

In fact, compared to what you learn from observing their behavior — when and how they respond to your fundraising and other messages — what they say about those things can lead you badly astray. What they say is very often totally unlike what they do. Because they don’t know their own minds on the subject of charitable giving.

(There’s nothing wrong with them; nobody knows their own mind very well on almost any subject. That includes you and me.)

So go ahead and use surveys, focus groups, and other ways of hearing donors talk. But much more important — be a fanatical sifter of fundraising campaign response data. That’s how you really know your donors.


Comments

4 responses to “The one thing you need to know in fundraising — and how to get it right”

  1. Jeff,
    You hit the nail right on the head (as usual)! Thanks so much for keeping the conversation going on this topic and including my recent blog post.

  2. Jeff,
    You hit the nail right on the head (as usual)! Thanks so much for keeping the conversation going on this topic and including my recent blog post.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    My target donors are people who does and love different things. I don’t know if doing a survey will be the best thing to know them better. But I’ll try to do your advice.
    Thanks.
    P.S. I hope you can include my blog in your blogroll. That will really help me in my cause.
    Thanks again

  4. Hi Jeff,
    My target donors are people who does and love different things. I don’t know if doing a survey will be the best thing to know them better. But I’ll try to do your advice.
    Thanks.
    P.S. I hope you can include my blog in your blogroll. That will really help me in my cause.
    Thanks again

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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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