Don’t argue your donors into giving

A wonderful quote by Madeleine L’Engle from Church Marketing Sucks, at Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle:

We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

You could replace We draw people to Christ with We motivate people to support our cause and have a great way to think about fundraising.

I know a lot of fundraisers who think their job is to “educate” donors, to bust commonly held myths, to “raise consciousness,” and turn donors into people more like them. These fundraisers tend to be continually frustrated with their donors — who, it turns out, aren’t all that interested in having their world-views adjusted by their junk mail.

Successful fundraisers embrace their donors and meet them where they are. They raise a lot more funds, and along the way raise a lot more consciousness at the same time.


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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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