How fundraisers can be more like Nigerian Internet scammers

When you read those Nigerian scam emails, do you find yourself wondering how stupid the scammers must be? The ridiculous, not-credible stories, the insanely huge promised pay-off, the crazy spelling and syntax … and why do they admit they’re in Nigeria? Doesn’t the word Nigeria pretty much mean “scam” to most people these days?

Turns out the scammers aren’t stupid at all. All those things that make us roll our eyes are brilliant tactics with a clear strategy: to find their right audience.

And, according to The Management Centre blog, there’s are Three things you can learn from email scammers.

You see, the scammers don’t want to waste their time talking to you or me or 99% of everybody on the internet. We’re too cynical and experienced to fall for their pitch. So they’re looking for a special person. Someone who’s so gullible, so out of it, so ready to be fleeced that they’re worth the time investment it takes to get their bank account numbers and steal all their money.

Which is not unlike what smart fundraisers do. Not finding gullible people, but finding our people … the people who get our cause.

We don’t want to talk to “everyone.” That’s a huge waste of time and money. By knowing who we want, and purposely filtering out others, we can raise a lot more money:

… often fundraisers spend lots of time and looking for a wider supporter cluster, trying to convince the skeptical, or moving too quickly to ask for an early high value gift.

Maybe we should focus on the people who we know are likely to be open to our ideas and approaches. Then work to build relationships with them.

Your target might be defined by geography. Or culture. Or faith. Or experience. Knowing where and how to find the is one of the smartest steps you can take.


Comments

4 responses to “How fundraisers can be more like Nigerian Internet scammers”

  1. Shannon Avatar

    I don’t really agree with this view. The reason you and I and the other 99% of skeptics know about these scammers is because we receive the emails too. They aren’t targeting specific individuals with their outreach – their spamming as wide and far as they can and waiting for victims to self-identify. Only their language is targeted, and that is the potential lesson here: we don’t need to try and be all things to all people in our copy.
    [p.s. HUGE fan of your bog, thank you!]

  2. Shannon Avatar

    I don’t really agree with this view. The reason you and I and the other 99% of skeptics know about these scammers is because we receive the emails too. They aren’t targeting specific individuals with their outreach – their spamming as wide and far as they can and waiting for victims to self-identify. Only their language is targeted, and that is the potential lesson here: we don’t need to try and be all things to all people in our copy.
    [p.s. HUGE fan of your bog, thank you!]

  3. I loved this blog, its a clever way to make you look at how your trying to cut through the “noise” and get to your target audience.
    Always enjoy getting your emails, keep up the good work

  4. I loved this blog, its a clever way to make you look at how your trying to cut through the “noise” and get to your target audience.
    Always enjoy getting your emails, keep up the good work

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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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