Two tempting ways not to raise funds

Failed fundraising projects often have one (or both) of these basic faults:


  1. Pedagogical. It’s trying to educate people into giving.
  2. Polemical. It’s trying to debate people into giving.

Neither one works, as noted at Happy Donors: The #2 Secret to Writing Fundraising Letters that Maximize Results.

Fundraising is about finding and cultivating people who already get it, who already want to be part of your cause:

… the purpose of your letter is not to educate or convince, it’s to prompt them to do something they’re already quite willing to do … and to make that donation right now.

You can’t teach or argue people into giving. All you can do is present a clear need and a clear call to action with emotion and urgency. That’s what fundraising is.


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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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