Is your fundraising aimed at your donors — or at your accountant?

Many fundraisers are specifically charged with raising “unrestricted support” for their organization.

To make life easier for their accountants?

To make it worse, some of those fundraisers seem to be in a perpetual snit about donors’ penchant for supporting the cause in specific ways. So their fundraising often ends up berating donors to get it right and make unrestricted donations.

That’s a costly mistake, as this recent post at Clairification notes: Why You Should Stop Scolding Donors to Make Unrestricted Gifts.

The funny thing is, most donors, when asked, are happy to give unrestricted gifts. But most of those same donors are far less responsive to a “stand with us” fundraising ask than they are to something specific.

Giving is a highly emotional act. Any time you tell potential donors to stop feeling and start thinking about the issue at hand, you slam the door on their passion and compassion. Especially when its about what’s to them a picky bureaucratic quibble like unrestricted giving.

Instead, consider what Claire says:

Offer your supporters enticing giving opportunities that key into what they’re most passionate about. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll end up deciding to make a restricted gift. It does mean they’ll probably end up paying more attention to you and making a considered gift of some form.

Fundraising is most effective when you aim it at your donors’ needs, not your own.


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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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