What your fundraising icon looks like

Excerpted from my new book, The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand: Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving.

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Yesterday, we examined the importance of the fundraising icon. Today, we look at the characteristics of an effective one:

Your icon has a clear focal point

Like most works of visual art, a good fundraising icon is strongly composed and compels the eye into itself.

Your icon is a person

The heart of fundraising is people connecting with people. Donors touching those they help. A fundraising icon becomes the emotional stand-in for the person your donor helps or the difference she makes when she gives.

Your icon is focused on the face

The majority of effective fundraising icons are portraits of people. That includes animals.

Your icon is one person, not a group

Many faces together dilute the visual power of the face.

Your icon is a picture of unmet need

Most fundraising icons show the problem the donor wants to solve.

Your icon is a photo, not an illustration

Illustrations are not “real” — and they can go terribly wrong. Ever since the invention of photography, people see photos as “real.”

Look for your fundraising icon. It can power your fundraising to new levels.

The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand is available at:


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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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