Bragging is not fundraising

Here’s the back of a 6″ x 9″ envelope from Uncle Maynard’s Treasure Trove of Direct Mail Knowledge:

BraggingOE

I’ve no reason to doubt that this is a good expression of what this Christian teaching ministry does. But as far as fundraising goes, it misses the point entirely.

It’s a common fundraising mistake. The strategy seems to be something like this:

If we can make people see how excellent we are, they’ll give.

That’s not fundraising. It’s just bragging.

The correct strategy for successful fundraising is this:

If we can show people how our mission is a part of their mission, they’ll give.

Your excellence is not the reason donors give. They give because they have a mission in life (probably more than one mission), and they come to believe that you can help them accomplish it.

Of course, they have to believe in your excellence in order to let you onto their personal bandwagon. But that’s not the main point.

Instead of bragging, you should have a clear call to action for the donor: Here’s what you can do!

The first step for effective fundraising is to understand what they call to action is for your donors. Then you make the call and make the case.

You don’t need to brag.

(This post first appeared on July 24, 2012)


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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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