Small charities may be saving everyone’s bacon

There’s an interesting finding that’s equally disturbing and encouraging in Bluefrog Fundraising’s research into the opinions of donors, reported at Queer Ideas: The Fundraising Ecosystem.

It describes two factors at work in the donor/charity “ecosystem”:

  1. Disrupting forces: failure to stay on task, aggression, delivering inappropriate communications, or failure to thank or feedback. Experienced directly or heard about via negative news or third parties. Often blamed on big charities.
  2. Nurturing Forces: thanking promptly, responding to donor requests, feeding back on how the donor’s money has been used. Typically seen as small charity behavior.

Donors experience these two forces that counterbalance one another:

The consideration and respect donors receive from organisations that show they value them keeps the gifts flowing — to all organisations — large or small. Whether it is a kind word from someone at their local church, support from a friend or even a good thank you letter from a mainstream charity, these actions appear to be central to sustaining the donor and helping them maintain their charitable nature.

Of course, any charity, no matter how huge, can get it right. Many do. And any small charity can completely mess it up — which many do.

Whether you are in a large or small organization, I hope you’ll draw two lessons from this:

  1. Be a nurturing force! You can do it. And when you do, you’ll not only raise more money, but you’ll help improve the ecosystem for everyone.
  2. Don’t be a disrupting force. If that means major changes within your organization, get on it! Not only that, but don’t let disruptors get away with it. Call them out. Make them ashamed of their shameful behavior. They are hurting us all.


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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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