How your boss’s ego kills your fundraising

Ego is one of the top killers of effective fundraising and marketing. The blog Marketing the Arts to Death takes a look at this very serious problem at Arts Leaders’ Egos and Bad Arts Marketing.

It’s not just arts organizations that suffer from this. Any nonprofit that has executives who think if their material makes them feel good then it’s good is probably churning out bad, ego-driven materials that don’t work.

Here’s what happens when the ego-driven executive gets involved:

They don’t really know what professional, customer-centered marketing should look like, and since there’s no one to stop them, they’ll approve the marketing they believe is the best reflection of their organization’s worth. And since the reflection of their organization’s worth is also a reflection of its leaders’ abilities, they will inevitably go for the content they find most flattering.

Everyone, including the boss, needs to know the truth about marketing and fundraising: It’s not about you. It’s not there to make you feel good. If it makes you feel good, there’s a good chance it’s missing the mark.

Don’t fall into the trap!

Thanks to @mcahalane for the tip.


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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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