Fundraising language that fails to connect

How many times have you seen fundraising that says something like this:

Children in our city struggle with hunger…

That, according to Colludo, is passive, and Your Passive Language is Bullshit.

There are places where it’s helpful to describe things with all the color and emotion removed. Fundraising is not one of those places. Why?

Our donors aren’t children. And we need them to feel something real if they are going to give a damn about the work we’re trying to get them to help us with. So stop with the passive bullshit and go for the jugular.

Fundraising is not a polite technical discussion among professionals. It’s an attempt to connect into donors’ deepest and most real passions. When you use polite, passive language, you can’t connect most donors. You fail to help them care.


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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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