How to raise the big bucks

Other than Zimbabwe, where can you get your hands on the big bucks?

100trilliondollars

Here are three easy ways:


  1. Talk to your best donors. No really — talk to them. Engage them in actual conversation. If they knew you cared about their opinions, many of them would be thrilled. And give more.
  2. Don’t go silent on your best donors. Far too many nonprofits have a plan for their best donors that goes like this: If your giving rises to a certain level, you get “special treatment.” So far, so good. But what that means is they get dramatically less contact than they got when they were giving so much they became major donors. They stop getting asked, and many stop giving. If you don’t have a plan that you’re actually going to fully execute for your best donors — just leave them be. That’s not the best thing to do, but it’s far better than going silent.
  3. Spend more to get more. A lot of it takes to do effective fundraising is being effectively cheap. But with your higher-end donors, you can afford to spend more to create better impacts. Here’s an easy one: affix a 1st-class stamp on the return envelope. It really works to increase response. The cost/benefit ration breaks down with donors below $100, but it’s a good investment above that level.

(This post was first published on March 30, 2010)


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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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