When you try to persuade yourself, you fail to persuade donors

From Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Message isn’t working? Here’s a three-point diagnosis. Some typical ways fundraising goes wrong:


  1. Falsely assuming that information results in action.
  2. Forgetting that we’re not the audience.
  3. Treating marketing as an afterthought.

In my experience, #2 is the most common and most destructive of the three. People at nonprofit organizations become obsessed with creating messages they think would motivate them — and thus radically mis-communicate with their donors.

It’s difficult to get outside of your own head. It’s even harder when there’s a group-think in the organization that’s seeking self-pleasing messages.

Effective fundraisers are the ones who talk to donors, not themselves.


Comments

4 responses to “When you try to persuade yourself, you fail to persuade donors”

  1. This conversation points to the real issue at hand. Have we not learned by now that this is not a single group, but many groups? In 1946 when the baby boom began, the entire US population was just over 140 million people.
    We can’t continue to rely on effortless communication strategies and expect to grow our programs. Peeling back the onion and understanding how to impact through micro strategies is the only way we are going to get ahead. As Clive Humby said “Data is the new oil”.
    We have to have the courage to take the right route, and it isn’t always the easy one.

  2. This conversation points to the real issue at hand. Have we not learned by now that this is not a single group, but many groups? In 1946 when the baby boom began, the entire US population was just over 140 million people.
    We can’t continue to rely on effortless communication strategies and expect to grow our programs. Peeling back the onion and understanding how to impact through micro strategies is the only way we are going to get ahead. As Clive Humby said “Data is the new oil”.
    We have to have the courage to take the right route, and it isn’t always the easy one.

  3. Jeff,
    Wow! I’m a fundraising consultant having similar experiences with organizations; and I believe the core problem #2.
    As with donors, you have a message that resonates with organizations that you want to support. The message must demonstrate that you the ability to connect with their donors.
    Thank you for the insight

  4. Jeff,
    Wow! I’m a fundraising consultant having similar experiences with organizations; and I believe the core problem #2.
    As with donors, you have a message that resonates with organizations that you want to support. The message must demonstrate that you the ability to connect with their donors.
    Thank you for the insight

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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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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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