Saying “we exist” is not fundraising

How often do you see a message from a nonprofit — often a billboard, transit ad, or print ad — that consists of the following:

  • The organization’s logo and tagline.
  • A stock photo of happy people. They look like random happy people, but I think they’re usually meant to stand for the people the organization helps. Happy because whatever they were facing has been taken care of, thanks to the organization.
  • Contact information: URL, phone, address.

And that’s it.

It’s surprisingly frequent. And almost completely ineffective.

Proclaiming your existence is not fundraising.

It’s also not marketing, advertising, or branding.

It accomplishes almost nothing.

To raise funds, you need to make a clear and compelling call to action. Even to do something as vague as capture attention or “raise awareness,” you still have to make a promise, be remarkable, or otherwise enter the audience’s world.

Just saying you exist does none of that. Don’t do it. Even if the media space is donated.

(This post first appeared on October 3, 2014.)


Comments

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

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.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

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.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

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.

Recent Comments

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.

Blog Roll

someone’s blog