Donors long to know WHY they should give to you

Are you fundraising on your what, your how, or your why?

It matters a lot.

Here’s what Roy Williams says in a recent Monday Morning Memo, at The Power of Why:

Most ads underperform because they say, “Here’s what we do and here’s how we do it. You should buy it.” Tedious and predictable ads always talk about what and how. But if you want to engage the imagination, you’ve got to start talking about why.

Think about that. If this matters in commercial advertising, it matter far, far more in fundraising.

Because why is all we have to offer.

Donors get almost nothing else in return for their charitable expenditure.

Yet how much fundraising consists of laboriously detailed descriptions of what the organization does, and close-up primers on how they do it. It’s as if they’re trying to train donors to become staff members.

Thing is, even staff members will fade away unless they have a steady diet of why they do what they do.

Fundraising is not a process of explaining your way into donors’ pocketbooks. It’s your values with their values — your why with their why.


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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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