Better fundraising? Here’s where to start

Here’s some great stuff from the World’s Fundraising Teacher, Tom Ahern, at the Bloomerang blog: 12 Tips for Improving Your Donor Communications.


  1. Make sure your audience knows you need them.
  2. Look for ways to use these 9 adjectives to describe your donors: kind, caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, fair, hard-working, generous, honest.
  3. Donor communications are about how great the donor is and favor the pronoun “you.”
  4. Be simple.
  5. Stop over-explaining.
  6. Connect with the reader’s pre-existing values and experiences.
  7. Offer donors a chance to do important and exclusive good.
  8. Love your donors.
  9. A picture is worth a thousand words. (The right picture, that is.)
  10. You cannot flatter your donors too much.
  11. Use 14-point type.
  12. Printed newsletters, done properly, can raise astounding amounts of money.

That’s almost everything you need to know to write great fundraising.


Comments

2 responses to “Better fundraising? Here’s where to start”

  1. Jeff (and Tom), that’s very solid advice, especially for communicating with older donors. But based on my rigorous focus group of one 41-year-old white male (me), I can tell you that I don’t want to be loved or flattered. I don’t want a relationship with the nonprofits I donate to, and I find it irritating when they constantly spin out content to me via email and social media cleverly designed to humanize their brands and drive “engagement” with them. I’m donating to you because I want you to solve a specific problem–whether it’s curing cancer or making life better for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. If you want me to keep giving instead of constantly switching brands, then thank me and keep showing, telling, and proving to me how you are actually doing your job and making a dent. I’ve got my family to remind me how “kind, caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, fair, hard-working, generous, and honest” I am. I don’t need or want that from the nonprofits I support. Thoughts?

  2. Jeff (and Tom), that’s very solid advice, especially for communicating with older donors. But based on my rigorous focus group of one 41-year-old white male (me), I can tell you that I don’t want to be loved or flattered. I don’t want a relationship with the nonprofits I donate to, and I find it irritating when they constantly spin out content to me via email and social media cleverly designed to humanize their brands and drive “engagement” with them. I’m donating to you because I want you to solve a specific problem–whether it’s curing cancer or making life better for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. If you want me to keep giving instead of constantly switching brands, then thank me and keep showing, telling, and proving to me how you are actually doing your job and making a dent. I’ve got my family to remind me how “kind, caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, fair, hard-working, generous, and honest” I am. I don’t need or want that from the nonprofits I support. Thoughts?

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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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