3 reasons your fundraising failed

The Monday Morning Memo is an always great source of practical inspiration for direct marketing. Here’s one you should read: Direct-Response Ad Writing: How to Do It Right.

What makes a message fail?

  1. The ad is not remarkable. People aren’t talking about it.
  2. The ad is not credible. In other words, it’s hype.
  3. The message isn’t urgent. There is no need to take immediate action.

He’s talking specifically about direct-response radio ads. But it applies to fundraising almost exactly. Your fundraising fails because:

  1. Your fundraising isn’t specific and exciting. You’re expecting donor to “support us” or buy in to your process (rather than your outcomes), or you aren’t connecting action with their values.
  2. Your fundraising isn’t believable. You aren’t connecting with the donors. You’re relying on hype, abstraction, or jargon.
  3. Your fundraising isn’t urgent. A gift tomorrow is just as good as a gift right now … which means no gift at all.

Fundraising is a difficult task. The target is far away, and very small. It takes discipline to succeed.

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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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