There are no shortcuts in fundraising

You’ve met those fundraisers who spend all their energy looking for some Next Big Thing that will solve all their problems in one blow and save them the agony of grinding out their fundraising program day after day.

They’re wasting their time.

The Fundraising Authority advises them to Stop Looking for a Fundraising Magic Bullet.

Because the real magic bullet, the one you can count on, is doing a great job on the programs you already have (assuming they work). Fundraisers who focus on the search for a magic bullet are missing the secret to success that’s right under their noses:

When you see a non-profit that is really thriving… one that is raising the money they need, instead of living “check to check,” and one that is constantly expanding its reach and serving more people… I can guarantee you that it got there the hard way.

Here are the downsides to all those Next Big Things:


  1. Most of them won’t pan out. A few will, but chance is not on the side of new, untested things.
  2. Even the great things that work wonders are ten times as much work as your standard old programs. You are not saving yourself labor by jumping on a new-tech bandwagon.
  3. Each one has opportunity cost. You spend time, money, and energy chasing the new, when that same time, money, and energy could be spent on something that has a known payback.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try new things. You’d have to be crazy not to keep your eyes open and seek innovation in our fast-moving times. But a cynical eye will serve you well. Remember: There’s no easy way to success, even when you discover a powerful new tool.


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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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