Your heart is your best fundraising tool

Pick up any book about fundraising, and it probably tells you that if you want to raise funds, you must engage donors’ emotions. Talk to anyone who knows their stuff, and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Why, then, is so much fundraising so decidedly cerebral and unemotional?

Because, according to the Veritus Group blog, we live in a world of habitual sterility, and it confuses us: Messaging — Which Works Best? The Head or the Heart?

We have way too much information happening in our daily discourse. We have way too many clinical, sterile facts and figures that fill our heads and our messaging with process, systems, outcomes and logic. All of this is important, but where is the heart? If you do not engage the heart in your messaging — if you do not engage your heart in life … then I fear you will lose your way.

Lose your way?

Yes! And not just less effective fundraising.

When your heart isn’t in your work, weak fundraising is the least of your troubles — though it may be the one that gets your attention. Your rational mind cannot sustain you over time in the difficult work of fundraising. If it’s all facts and spreadsheets, you will run out of fuel before long.

If you’re full of heart, deeply in touch with the emotional side of your work, you’ll be able to stay in touch, even when things are hard or discouraging — is it inevitably will be in this work.

Effective fundraising starts within. Just like everything else you do.


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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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