Fundraising truths you’ll wish you knew a long time ago

Experience makes a difference.

Here’s what 25-year professional Steven Screen at Better Fundraising has learned about donors, at Things an Old Fundraiser Knows:

  • It’s harder than ever to get and keep attention.
  • We need more drama and less process.
  • We need more National Enquirer and less National Geographic.
  • Fundraising should be louder, bolder, redder.
  • Don’t assume your donor is going to read anything you send them, let alone the whole thing.
  • The way your organization does its work is rarely important.
  • The best-performing fundraising is usually about something the donor cares about, at the level at which they understand it, and about what their gift will do about it.
  • Most small nonprofits have untapped giving of 15% to 25% of their total revenue — they have a lot of donors who would like to give more money if they are Asked well and then cultivated correctly.
  • Most of the barriers to raising more money are self-imposed.
  • Successful fundraising is a knowledge issue, not a talent issue.
  • Donor generosity is amazing.

These are nuggets that can help you transform your fundraising!


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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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