3 Far-out fundraising fails

Fantasy Fundraising

Somewhere there’s a vast cemetery of failed fundraising efforts, all of them beautiful fantasies that nonprofit organizations wanted to do. They believed they couldn’t go wrong. But donors didn’t respond. It always goes that way. When you use your own tastes and preferences as a guide, you miss what real donors respond to. Trust me, failure is the only outcome to fantasy fundraising.

Fad Fundraising

Before you jump on the bandwagon of the Next Big Thing, think it through: Just because it worked for someone else, does that mean it will work for you? Even more important, ask yourself this: Is this Next Big Thing is really big, or just the recipient of a lot of hype? Fads spread because people want to believe there’s a new, shiny, easier, better way to do everything. There isn’t. Almost all the fads are a waste of time. The ones that are useful are the ones that stick around for a few years so they can mature. And fundraising is never easy, no matter what tools you use.

Fact-Free Fundraising

The facts about what donors respond to are easy to find and to know. They’re also easy to ignore, apparently, because they are so often flouted. When you discover the average age of your donors is 76, you need to stop doing young-donor fundraising. When you learn that Facebook isn’t bringing in donations, you need to spend a lot less time trying to raise funds on Facebook. When you discover that long messages, old-fashioned design, and direct mail work, do those things! Facts are your friends.


Comments

2 responses to “3 Far-out fundraising fails”

  1. Maybe it’s like the book “Pet Cemetery,” and that’s why some of those fundraising fails keep returning from the dead and showing up in our mailboxes. =)

  2. Maybe it’s like the book “Pet Cemetery,” and that’s why some of those fundraising fails keep returning from the dead and showing up in our mailboxes. =)

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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.