Ben Franklin’s amazing secret for successful fundraising

I know professionals in fundraising who have the feeling that fundraising and giving are a zero-sum game: We somehow get money away from people and we have to be careful that they don’t notice we’re getting richer at their expense.

You’re always on tip-toes, afraid the donors will figure it out and bring the whole thing to a crashing end.

Benjamin-franklin

You need to take a listen to some wisdom from Benjamin Franklin, who said:

He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than whom you yourself have obliged.

It’s called the Ben Franklin Effect. When you help someone, you want to do it again. Because doing good feels good.

Maybe you’ve experienced it in life, when you asked someone for directions, and they took the whole afternoon off to give you a personal guided tour, including a great meal. That person is having a great time! They’re probably getting more out of it thab you are.

In the same way, donors love to give. They love the organizations that create outlets for their generosity. The more they give, the more they’re likely to give. That’s why the top indicator of likeliness to give is the recency of the previous gift.

That’s the magic of asking and giving.. Everyone wins. The only losers (other than frauds) are those who don’t take part.

As a fundraiser, you are a key part of the magic. Don’t let an unrealistic pessimism lead you astray!


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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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