Almost everything I know about fundraising I learned from Christmas carols

Angels We Have Heard on High

Excellent fundraisers are like angels singing out their wonderful news for the world to hear. They sing it sweetly and with gusto, because they know they’re changing the world. The other kind of fundraisers — the ones who mutter their message under their breath because they’re embarrassed to ask for money? They don’t do so well.

Anyway, the Archangel Gabriel is the patron saint of postal workers. So there’s a real connection.

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

It’s usually smart to deck your fundraising messages with boughs of holly or other corny holiday decorations this time of year. Really, you can hardly go wrong with holiday putz.

Frosty The Snowman

In this song, a pile of snow, a carrot, some pieces of coal and a hat are magically transformed into a living being. In fundraising, paper, ink, and postage stamps are magically transformed into good deeds. It’s just as magic! We should be just as thrilled as we would be by a walking, singing snowman (and considerably less creeped out).

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Never forget that as Christmas is to the gentlemen of the song, fundraising is “tidings of comfort and joy” to donors. They love to give. They want to be involved. You are your donors’ friend; it’s nothing to be dismayed about sending out fundraising messages.

O Come All Ye Faithful

No matter what your cause, it’s largely the Faithful — folks who practice their faith — who are showing up and supporting you. Work with that fact, and not against it, for best fundraising results.

Over The River And Through The Woods

A disproportionate number of our donors are older and female: Grandmothers. They are well worth going to great lengths over rivers and through woods to find, because they’ll be your most loyal supporters.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

According to this song, Santa has one heck of a database on his constituents’ behavior — with real-time information on who’s crying, shouting, or pouting, when they’re asleep, when they’re awake, when they’re bad, when they’re good. That’s a lot more than just RFM! It works pretty well for the Big Guy in Red, and it can work for you.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

That last week of the year, between Christmas and New Year, are merry indeed for fundraisers. Especially those of us raising funds online, when giving spikes to an amazing high.

(This post first appeared on December 14, 2009.)


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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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