One easy step to raise a lot less money

Must-listen piece from NPR: Why Your Brain Wants To Help One Child In Need — But Not Millions.

It reminds us why we should regard facts, statistics, and large numbers as fundraising poison:


  • People give when you tell stories about individuals.
  • They don’t give when you pepper them with facts about the size of the problem.
  • If you tell a story of an individual, and then throw in some stats to back up your case, you kill response. As the reporter says:

Here’s the main point:

… people decline to do what they can do because they feel bad about what they can’t do.

Whether you’re raising funds to fight Ebola, or to keep the arts strong in your community, give your donors small problems they can imagine solving. Not big problems that emphasize how small they are.


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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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