Your instinct is wrong

Think you’re smart? Good for you. Just be aware that smarts alone may not get you where you want to go in fundraising. You also need knowledge.

Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog tackles One Big Myth about Direct Mail Appeal Letters:

We all like to think our instincts can guide us through our fundraising. But sometimes your gut instinct is just wrong and that’s when you need to turn to the experts … who have proven their methods work over and over again.

The big myth they’re talking about here is that one-page fundraising messages are somehow better than longer ones. This is totally wrong; experience tells us that longer letters are better than short ones.

That’s one big myth, where almost everyone’s instinct or common sense will lead them astray. There are others:


  • Common sense says that a short message will work better because nobody has time to read a long message. Common sense is wrong.
  • Common sense says it’s a mistake to ask someone for a gift soon after they’ve given. Common sense is wrong.
  • Common sense says being funny, intellectual, modern, etc. is a great way to connect with donors. Common sense is wrong.

There are more. A lot more.

This is why you can’t count on what “seems right” to guide your fundraising. Get professional help. And if you are the professional doing it, make sure you’re getting educated about what really 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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