Train yourself to be a better fundraiser

Seth Godin has noticed something: More people are doing marketing badly. Because anyone can do it — but being able to do it doesn’t means you can do it well. Or even kinda okay. And there’s no certification or standards. If you want to be a doctor, you have to jump through a lot of hoops to show you have what it takes to be a doctor. Want to be marketer? Here’s your computer!

Seth recommends these steps for self-training in marketing:


  1. Notice what is working in the real world and try to figure out why. Apply it to your work. Repeat.
  2. Learn to see, to discern the difference between good and bad, between useful and merely comfortable.
  3. And after you learn, speak up. Noticing doesn’t work if you don’t care and if you don’t take action.

For fundraisers, I’d add one more step: Be a donor. If you aren’t participating in the asking-giving dance, you fundamentally don’t grasp what’s happening.


Comments

2 responses to “Train yourself to be a better fundraiser”

  1. Rochelle Avatar

    So true – just because someone has watched a few TV ads doesn’t mean they know anything about marketing! What really gets me is when marketing (persuasive and compelling material designed to elicit a desired action) gets confused with ‘raising awareness’ (a ‘feel-good-look-see-we’re-doing-something’ time waster with no REAL measurable results). I’ve worked in organisations where they were happier to spend money on market research and zany ‘It’ll Be The Next Big Thing!’ awareness raising activities than they were on fundraising strategies. They could see no benefit in investing in something that actually had a return rather than something that made them feel good. Sigh…!

  2. Rochelle Avatar

    So true – just because someone has watched a few TV ads doesn’t mean they know anything about marketing! What really gets me is when marketing (persuasive and compelling material designed to elicit a desired action) gets confused with ‘raising awareness’ (a ‘feel-good-look-see-we’re-doing-something’ time waster with no REAL measurable results). I’ve worked in organisations where they were happier to spend money on market research and zany ‘It’ll Be The Next Big Thing!’ awareness raising activities than they were on fundraising strategies. They could see no benefit in investing in something that actually had a return rather than something that made them feel good. Sigh…!

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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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