Why fundraising is hard — and how that’s our big opportunity

Nonprofit employees who dislike fundraising usually dislike it for one main reason: It’s depressing.

It’s all about need and problems. It shows things at the lowest point. It doesn’t talk about the incredible impact we’re having on the situation.

It’s that way for a reason, and that reason is: that’s what gets most people to give.

The Fundraising Fundamentals blog tackles this issue at Fundraising Myth Busters: Hope gets better results than need:

Happy photos and stories communicate that the problem is already solved (and if the problem is solved, you don’t need your donors).

Showing need is a critical element to your direct response fundraising success. Focusing only on success doesn’t inspire donors to give.

It’s true. Most donors give to solve problems, not to keep good programs going.

That puts us in the sometimes uncomfortable position of showing situations we don’t like to see. It feels like we’re proclaiming failure. But that’s because we are not our donors.

Every form of effective communication and persuasion involves understanding your audience’s hearts and minds — and going to them, not trying to drag them to where we are.

Fundraising, maybe more than any other kind of marketing, forces us to drop our own needs and focus on our donors’ needs. When you do that, you stand out in the crowd of others who are seeking support.


Comments

2 responses to “Why fundraising is hard — and how that’s our big opportunity”

  1. Norah Carmichael Avatar
    Norah Carmichael

    I love fundraising and would love to work at it full time, how would you look for careers in this area?

  2. Norah Carmichael Avatar
    Norah Carmichael

    I love fundraising and would love to work at it full time, how would you look for careers in this area?

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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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