Why your fundraising didn’t work

Doing a post-mortem on a failed direct-response fundraising campaign? Check this post at Karen Zapp’s Nonprofit Blog: Top 10 Reasons Why a Fundraising Campaign Flops.


  1. Copy isn’t reader-centric
  2. Poor list (you aren’t being smart about whom you’re asking)
  3. Too many editors change the copy until it becomes a weak mush.
  4. Single channel effort – didn’t integrate across multiple channels (online and offline)
  5. Appeal is filled with business-like jargon; it’s cold and impersonal
  6. No story
  7. No clear call-to-action stated multiple times that obviously shows how the donor makes a difference
  8. No single person, family or critter that the reader can connect with through their own experiences; text dominated by sweeping generalities and nebulous facts
  9. No package gestalt
  10. No reminder sent to boost response

Any one of these things can kill your campaign. The most deadly one is #2, which can demolish an effort that’s otherwise flawless.


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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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