Fundcrushing: the evil cousin of fundraising

I came across this piece of direct mail recently:

FundcrushingOEfront

The fact that there are 9,500 homeless people in the community is not a reason to donate. It’s more of a reason not to donate.

The piece digs itself in even deeper on the back of the envelope:

FundcrushingOEback

I love this technique of having information on the back of the envelope. But it’s full of numbers!

Doubled in size! 25% increase! 4x the impact! 200 families! 400 children! $26.55!

It’s mental spaghetti. Worse than that, as with the 9,500 homeless people on the front of the envelope, it’s trying to stir the reader to action by impressing her with big numbers.

That doesn’t work.

I call it fundcrushing. It’s the evil cousin of fundraising. It’s more or less the opposite of fundraising.

Let’s look at the difference between the two approaches:

Fundraising


  • You can change the world.
  • Meet this person you can help.
  • Here’s the result you can expect when you give.
  • Hope.

Fundcrushing


  • The problems are huge beyond imagining
  • Grasp the enormity of the problem.
  • Here’s the process we use.
  • Despair and guilt.

Fundcrushing is depressingly common. I think it comes from a spirit of frustration that comes from being unable to get everyone on board. It tries to scold and cajole people into giving.

Fundraising is a more experienced, realistic approach: It knows you can’t get everyone to join you — but you can get some. If you invite them to change the world with you.

Fundraising works a lot better at raising funds.


Comments

6 responses to “Fundcrushing: the evil cousin of fundraising”

  1. With results, this would be a great example to encourage fundraisers to focus on the story, not the statistics. Do you know if the appeal was tested?

  2. With results, this would be a great example to encourage fundraisers to focus on the story, not the statistics. Do you know if the appeal was tested?

  3. LOVE, love, love this post Jeff. I tell my nonprofit clients this all the time. One number I can wrap my brain around. Especially if you illustrate it with a compelling story. More than that… my mind goes numb. It only impresses you; not your reader. And research tells us over and over again that data depresses results. We’re wired for storytelling. We want to know how we can become the hero of the story.

  4. LOVE, love, love this post Jeff. I tell my nonprofit clients this all the time. One number I can wrap my brain around. Especially if you illustrate it with a compelling story. More than that… my mind goes numb. It only impresses you; not your reader. And research tells us over and over again that data depresses results. We’re wired for storytelling. We want to know how we can become the hero of the story.

  5. The post is exactly the essence of fund raising and the essence of everything we do in assisting people to raise funding at iPledg (http://ipledg.com/)
    A positive and uplifting tone will always help you to connect and engage, and this is the secret to successful fund raising

  6. The post is exactly the essence of fund raising and the essence of everything we do in assisting people to raise funding at iPledg (http://ipledg.com/)
    A positive and uplifting tone will always help you to connect and engage, and this is the secret to successful fund raising

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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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