Do you dumb down your fundraising?

Somebody asked Kivi if making an email newsletter a quick, skimmable read constituted “dumbing it down.” Read about it here at her blog: Making It Skimmable Is Not Dumbing It Down. (The title gives away the answer, but read it anyway!)

Fear of “dumbing down” is one of the great forces of evil in our industry. It makes many fundraisers do extremely dumb fundraising.

Making something simple is not dumbing down.

Making something clear is not dumbing down.

Making something emotionally compelling is not dumbing down.

On the other hand, making your message complex and opaque is dumb. So is being dry and rational. Any time you refuse to communicate with your audience — who they are, where they are, and what they need — and instead communicate in a way you think is compelling to you … that’s dumbing down your work.

We all make mistakes. Some you can call dumb, others honest errors. But if you do ineffective fundraising because you have a need to prove you’re smart — that’s the dumbest dumbing-down of all.


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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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