Fundraising and authenticity: what is it, and how to do it

A meteor screamed out of space and slammed into Earth at 150,000 miles per hour. It left a flaming debris field in northern Argentina two miles wide and 12 miles long, with 26 distinct craters.

This was 4,200 years ago.

I’m thinking about that long-ago disaster after the looking at Edmund Scientific catalog.

Authenticmeteorite

I found this geektastic item: Framed Print with Authentic Fragment of the Campo Del Cielo Meteorite.

It’s a picture of a meteor entering the atmosphere (not, I assume, the meteor in question). In the frame below the picture is an actual piece of meteorite taken from the Campo del Cielo debris field.

It’s that little hunk of rock that makes this more than an odd piece of wall art. The rock makes it something real — even, if you’re geeky enough, a touch with fame.

I imagine one of the main expenses of manufacturing this print is the genuine Campo del Cielo meteorite — finding it in Argentina, transporting it from there, making sure it’s the real thing.

Almost any old hunk of rock would do the job just as well as the Campo del Cielo meteorite — the geeks who received the print with a non- Campo del Cielo rock would never be the wiser. Think how much money they could save.

Of course, if buyers learned their rocks were fakes, there’d be some geeky version of a riot. If the marketing up front said “contains a rock that looks just like a Cielo del Campo meteorite,” you’d hardly sell any at all.

That’s why they don’t do either of those things, and why they include a “certificate of authenticity” with the print.

Because authenticity matters. The “real” rock can’t be replaced with a look-alike, even if there’s no discernible difference.

Authenticity is one of the keys to fundraising.

What can you offer your donors that allows them to have direct connection with the cause they support?

Not any old tchotchke will do. Look for something that’s …

  • Real
  • Believable
  • Unique to your cause
  • Inexpensive but not crappy

Give it some thought, because a little bit of authenticity can really boost your fundraising.

Let’s talk. I can help you bring that authenticity to your fundraising. I’m available for free 25-minute coaching sessions. Just click here and directly schedule an online conversation with me or with Sean Triner.

(This post first appeared on December 20, 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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