Fundraising Hell, Level 6: The Heretics

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 six of a nine-part tour of the levels of Fundraising Hell.

As we continue our descent into Fundraising Hell, we now reach the Heretics: Fundraisers who went against the truths they knew.

They had all the advantages. They were educated and informed about their work. They went to the conferences. They read the books and blogs. They heard it said hundreds of times that fundraising is about donors, that if you let your work devolve into skimming cash without creating meaningful relationships with donors, you’re wasting everyone’s time and money.

But they didn’t care.

They did crummy, old-line, barely successful, soulless fundraising that managed to pay for itself but couldn’t be sustained. They practiced churn-and-burn tactics that maximized response at the expense of retention, net revenue, upgrading, and deeper engagement.

Their fundraising was like strip-mining or forest clear-cutting. Effective for a while at getting the resource, but wasteful and unsustainable.

They managed to raise money (though they tended to be much better at gross revenue than net), but they trained donors to think of fundraising as stupid, irrelevant, and annoying. Many donors who otherwise might have been generous supporters of the world’s causes became miserly skeptics — to the loss of us all (and themselves) because of the horrific work of these fundraisers.

In short, these people not only went astray, but led others astray too, including donors.

For that, they lie trapped in red-hot flaming tombs. They continue their dead disconnectedness in the afterworld.

Don’t end up among these folks! Pay attention to what you know about good fundraising. Respect your work and your donors, and do your best all the time!

Next Monday — Level 7: The Violent

Previous levels:


Comments

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

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.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

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.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

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.

Recent Comments

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.

Blog Roll

someone’s blog