Fundraising Hell, Level 4: The Greedy and Wasteful

Inferno

If Dante had been a fundraiser, his Inferno might have been slightly different, featuring the evils specific to fundraisers. I have corrected Dante’s oversight. This is part four of a nine-part tour of the levels of Fundraising Hell.

After we leave the sadly passive sufferings of the Guttonous Fundraisers, we make our way down to the next level, where we find the Greedy and Wasteful Fundraisers.

These were the fundraisers who valued self expression over other connecting with donors. To them, the purpose of fundraising was to display the awesomeness of their organization — its methods, its history, its staff, whatever they deemed worth bragging about.

This type of fundraising evil takes two different forms:


  1. Greed, where the fundraisers didn’t see fit to be open or informative about what they do with their donors. They don’t think donors can handle the details; they’re not real partners, just passive funders.
  2. Wastefulness, where the fundraisers can’t shut up about their greatness. Donors don’t matter to them, either — except as passive audiences to be enlightened.

Opposite sins, but remarkably similar. Either way, it’s because they’re horrifically self-centered.

For punishment, they endlessly push gigantic weights along until they crash into others and their weights. They yell and curse at each other (these types really hate each other), then start pushing their weights somewhere else.

The entire level is watched over by a slavering wolflike giant, the Demon of Branding. It’s really his domain.

To stay out of this level of Fundraising Hell, fix your mind on one thing: Fundraising is about donors. It’s not a vehicle for your pride and self-expression. Your excellence is a vehicle for their greatness, not vice-versa.

Next Monday — Level 5: The Wrathful

Previous levels:


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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.