How not to destroy your fundraising

Not everyone involved in your fundraising is making it better. In fact, the typical routing process makes your work far less effective.

It’s not that they’re trying to sabotage your fundraising. It’s that they don’t understand what they should be doing to make it better. So they guess. With predictably bad outcomes.

Willis Turner, writing in FundRaising Success, has a great checklist for fundraising evaluators, at Are the People Reading Your Mail Ruining It?

Give this checklist to everyone who reviews your fundraising. The answer to each question should be NO:


  • Are you evaluating the package based on what seems logical?
  • Are you evaluating the package based on what feels right to you?
  • Are you worried that the graphics (or copy) are “too depressing”?
  • Are you worried that it’s too much like last year’s package (unless last year’s package bombed)?
  • Are you evaluating the package based on whether or not you would give to it?
  • Are you afraid it will generate donor complaints?
  • Have you solicited opinions from staff, administrators, the coffee guy or other non-fundraisers for the sake of getting an “objective opinion”?
  • Are you giving in to amorphous objections like, “I don’t know, I’m just not comfortable with it”?

If anyone’s answer to any of these questions is yes, their opinions will do more harm than good to your fundraising.


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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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