You can’t “explain” donors into giving

You’ve probably heard someone say, “If people just knew what we do, they’d give!”

It’s not correct. Using that as your strategic guide is going to cost you a lot for little in return.

Knowledge isn’t the missing ingredient. You could tell people all about everything you do all day long, and they still won’t give.

They’ll give when you show them that giving to you is a really excellent expression of who they are. Or, as Seth Godin puts it at Worldview and stories, you have to fit into their worldview:

Enough with the facts and figures and features and benefits. They rarely move people into action. It’s our worldview (the way we acted and believed and judged before we encountered you) and your story (the narrative we tell ourselves about who you are and what you do) that drive human behavior.

This tells us two things about fundraising:


  1. Facts and education won’t move people to donate. You need to tell stories that show them how your cause fits into their world.
  2. Your universe of prospective donors is never “everyone.” It’s always a specific group that shares your worldview. Free yourself from thinking you have to get across to everyone, and you’ll start raising funds like a pro.


Comments

2 responses to “You can’t “explain” donors into giving”

  1. Andy Duchow Avatar
    Andy Duchow

    I love your last point that we aren’t speaking to “everyone” – so important, and so often overlooked.

  2. Andy Duchow Avatar
    Andy Duchow

    I love your last point that we aren’t speaking to “everyone” – so important, and so often overlooked.

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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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