Who’s going to DIG your fundraising grave?

Next time some social media guru tells you that traditional marketing approaches are dead, you have a right to punch him or her in the nose. You should not exercise that right, but you have it nonetheless.

Someone who encourages you to ignore basic fundraising knowledge (like the importance of measuring your activities and making decisions based on those measurements) is a Dangerously Ignorant Guru, or DIG.

The DIGs have it partly right: Social media change a lot of things about marketing and fundraising. But they don’t change the basics, like:


  1. You still have to raise funds at an acceptable cost.
  2. You still have to generate long-term value in the form of repeat donors who will stick with you long-term.
  3. You still have to have specific, concrete, and wonderful fundraising offers that motivate donors.
  4. You still need to find real, non-fantasy donors and relate to them in the media they actually use.

Among other things the DIGs don’t talk about.

The DIGs I’ve encountered up-close don’t often attack or deny normal fundraising concepts. They just ignore them. I think they don’t know that measurement and fiscal responsibility exist.

As long as DIGs can get paid by throwing out buzzwords and telling fantastic anecdotal stories about things that went big on Twitter, YouTube, or somebody’s blog, they’re going to keep doing it.

In other words, it’s our own fault that the DIGs are fluttering around our heads like the vampire bats that they are. If we stopped paying for their dangerously ignorant fairy tales about fundraising, they’d shrivel up. Or maybe they’d be forced to learn some real skills and find work that contributes to the nonprofit sector.

There’s no need to punch the next DIG you meet. But please, don’t give them any money. That doesn’t do you or anyone else any favors.


Comments

2 responses to “Who’s going to DIG your fundraising grave?”

  1. Ha! I love this.
    For what’s it’s worth, this article was especially entertaining to me because my mind kept conjuring up images of you as a John the Baptist type figure (full garb, maybe even a few locusts here and there) preaching a message from the wilderness:
    Fundraisers – Repent! The truth is here!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ha! I love this.
    For what’s it’s worth, this article was especially entertaining to me because my mind kept conjuring up images of you as a John the Baptist type figure (full garb, maybe even a few locusts here and there) preaching a message from the wilderness:
    Fundraisers – Repent! The truth is here!
    Thanks for sharing!

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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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