What you’re really selling when you raise funds

You probably remember that old piece of marketing wisdom that people who buy drills don’t actually want drills. They want holes.

Fundraising Coach reminds us of a similar truth: No donor wants to make a donation. Instead, they want to make a difference.

As Marc puts it, this is how you sell drills: Because of your gift, we were able to do this amazing thing.

And this is how you sell holes: You did this amazing thing because of your gift.

Sell holes. The thing the donor wants to happen.

Not drills: The process you use to make it happen.


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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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