Life changing lessons you can take to the bank — from a fundraising giant

A recent post on the Guidestar blog gave a long list of things fundraising master Jerold Panas has learned: Some Things I Have Learned in My Years of Fundraising.

I’ve listed some of my favorites from the list. These things can transform your fundraising career:

  • People don’t want to give money away. They want to invest in bold, exciting, and inspiring ventures.
  • Averaging what a group of people will give is a guaranteed way to fail. (“If 500 alumni gave us $1,000 each …”)
  • People don’t give money because they should. They give money because you asked.
  • You should ask for a specific amount, not a range.
  • More than ever before, donors want to know the results of their investment.
  • The 80-20 Rule doesn’t work now. It’s closer to 90 percent of the money comes from 4 to 5 percent of the donors.
  • Donors give to exciting and audacious dreams.
  • No organization will rise above the strength and commitment of its board.
  • Expensive brochures are often a negative. Like children-much beloved by their parents, but barely tolerated by others.

Ready for more fundraising help? Don’t miss my free Moceanic webinar, The Secret Blueprint for Direct Mail that Makes Donors LOVE to Give. January 30 or 31. Sign up here.


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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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