Painful truths about fundraising they didn’t tell you about in school

Here’s a revealing post at Medium about the beliefs many people carry into the fundraising profession: Five Things They Didn’t Tell You When You Signed Up to Fundraise. Have you ever confronted any of these?


  1. No one has to give you money.
  2. It’s none of your business what other people do with their money.
  3. What’s important to you might not be to others.
  4. People are not heartless or ignorant or selfish if they don’t give.
  5. Never assume the value is obvious.

A lot of bad fundraising comes from fundraisers who have not learned these truths:


  • They think they are entitled to people’s donations because their cause is so important. The truth: There are a lot of important and deserving causes. Not everyone knows or cares about yours.
  • They think people spend too much money frivolously and/or donate to undeserving cause — so people are obligated to give to their organization. The truth: That’s not our call.
  • They think their cause is self-evidently and obviously the best possible cause. The truth: You have to win people over. On their terms. Even then, some people won’t value what you do.
  • They think everyone who doesn’t give (or who doesn’t give enough is morally flawed. The truth: Really not our call.
  • They think you have to be evil to say no to them. The truth: It’s reasonable to say “no” to your fundraising for many valid reasons.

A realistic view of donors and how they connect with your organization and your cause will make you a very much better fundraiser.

Thanks to Marc Pitman 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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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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