3 warning signs of fundraising Bogus Shiny Objects

Every consultant or agency person knows a dirty little secret about serving nonprofits: Shiny Objects Sell. We know we have a much better chance of getting hired by a nonprofit if we show Shiny Objects.

Shiny Objects are anything new. Anything you haven’t done before. Shiny Objects have unlimited promise. Anything wonderful could happen with a Shiny Object.

Ordinary Objects — things like direct mail — have known promise. We can predict with some accuracy what will happen with a well-run direct mail program. Which is boring to many nonprofit executives.

Some Shiny Objects are going to deliver on their promise — they’re going to change the game for everyone, especially those who figure them out early.

But most Shiny Objects will fail miserably. That’s just a fact of life: Most new things are bogus. A few are good.

And it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a Breakthrough Shiny Object and a Bogus Shiny Object — until the I-told-you-so stage of success or failure.

I can give you a little help by showing you some warning signs of Bogus Shiny Objects:


  • Some Bogus Shiny Objects promise to raise funds with little or no effort. Sorry — fundraising is hard work no matter how you tackle it. Anyone who promises otherwise is either clueless or a fraud.
  • Some Bogus Shiny Objects depend on connecting with some new demographic that doesn’t give now. If they don’t give now, you aren’t going to change their psychology with technology.
  • Some Bogus Shiny Objects promise to deliver non-measurable wonderfulness. This may not be the fault of the Shiny Object itself, but of the people promising to implement it. If they’re pushing nonmeasurable results, they are charlatans.

Shiny Objects require a high level of alertness. They can cost you a lot if you aren’t applying all your wits.


Comments

2 responses to “3 warning signs of fundraising Bogus Shiny Objects”

  1. Great post, Jeff! We’ve found that the companies that are most susceptible to this are those that lack a culture of measurement in the first place. It’s easy to be fooled into magic solutions when you already believe that your success is in the hands of fate or the whims of donors.

  2. Great post, Jeff! We’ve found that the companies that are most susceptible to this are those that lack a culture of measurement in the first place. It’s easy to be fooled into magic solutions when you already believe that your success is in the hands of fate or the whims of donors.

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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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