Book review: Everything you need to know about effective fundraising — with footnotes

Emotionraising by Francesco Ambrogetti

Emotionraisingcover

Okay, you can skip the rest of this review, because this is a book you almost surely need. Run as fast as you can (well, click as fast as you can) and get this book!

Let me show you why, with an example:

Rationally we do not like to think that we respond to emotions such as fear or anger, but emotionally our brain is more inclined to react to this type of input than to rational or positive stimuli…. Appeals and fundraising campaigns that use sad images receive more donations than those using faces with happy or neutral expressions.

This piece of information (and I’ve only quoted the conclusion; it’s fully described in the book) can transform your fundraising from mediocre to mighty. And there’s a lot more like this.

If you’re an experienced fundraiser, you probably already knew about which emotions motivate more giving. Well, this is where Emotionraising really earns its keep: All this stuff is cited and footnoted.

Ambrogetti, a professor of fundraising at Bologna University with real-world fundraising experience, has approached the subject with an academic microscope. Most books about fundraising (including mine) are based on a practitioner’s experience. This one is based on the studies and research behind it.

So when the fundraising deniers raise their voices, you can point to the science behind good fundraising. (Of course, they may still deny in the face of proof, but you’ll win over some of them!)

Whether you’re new to fundraising or you’ve been around for decades, you’ll learn something new and immediately useful. But maybe more important, you’ll be strongly equipped to do what works by winning over the doubters.

If you’re a fundraiser working outside the US, there’s another reason you need this book: Using effective fundraising techniques is often (and unfortunately) identified as “American” fundraising. It’s not American, of course. It’s human. But the American label makes it easy for less-educated nonprofit people around the world to hate it and reject it.

But this book, which defends and footnotes many of those common practices is not written by an American, thank goodness! That alone underscores the universality of fundraising that’s based on human behavior. It’s true in your country too!

You need this book. You can get it right now at:


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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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