How to focus your fundraising on donors

If you think fundraising is about funding a cause, think again. It’s about empowering a donor to change the world.

What does that mean? Check out It’s “Us” or “Them” at Karen Zapp’s Nonprofit Blog:

The spotlight is shining on the donor. They are the hero of the appeal and all you do. This style of writing also personalizes the appeal and makes everything more tangible for the donors. It’s easier for them to see themselves in the picture you paint with words and how they — the donors — really are making a difference.

Every statement of fact you make should be shaped so it’s not an empty brag about how great your organization is, but how your donor can make great things happen through your organization.

Empty brag version: We are the top rescuer of bent tiddlywinks in the Tri-County area.

Good fundraising version: Your gift will rescue bent tiddlywinks and make the Tri-County a better place.

Fundraising that works is fundraising that reminds donors who they are, what their lives are about, and why your organization is a proper outlet for their mission. Too much fundraising gets that exactly backward.


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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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