How tell when someone’s fundraising advice is bad

Anyone can tell you anything about your fundraising. How can you tell the bad advice from the good?

Here’s what almost always gives away bad advice. It starts with a phraise like these:

  • I don’t like it.
  • I like it.
  • I think…
  • It makes me feel…

If someone is using their own sense of how fundraising ought to be as their standard, they are almost certainly giving you bad, no-good, terrible advice.

The thing about fundraising is that how it feels to you has little to do with how it connects with donors. How you like it gives you no indication of whether or not it’s likely to work.

So much energy and money are wasted in misguided quests to create fundraising messages that we (or our bosses) like.

In fact, I-like-it is probably more trustworthy as a counter-indicator of potential success. If you (or they) like it, it’s probably not on target.

You aren’t your donors. Your sense of what’s cool, motivating, or interesting are very different from your donors’.

Furthermore, the goal isn’t to get donors to like your fundraising. The goal is to motivate them to give. Amazingly often, effective fundraising is not very likable

The secret to successful fundraising is to move completely beyond like/dislike and operate from a body of knowledge of what has worked and tested well before. Add to that passion, energy, and a willingness to take well-considered risk, and you’ll produce good work that succeeds more often than it fails.

Don’t waste your time talking about whether you like it or not.

Looking for helping connecting your work with that amazing body of fundraising knowledge. Click here to schedule a free 25 minute session with me. Bring your fundraising challenge or question and let’s see if I can help.


Comments

2 responses to “How tell when someone’s fundraising advice is bad”

  1. Completely agree, and double if the person saying “I don’t like it” is a board member. https://dennisfischman.com/your-board-is-not-your-audience/

  2. Completely agree, and double if the person saying “I don’t like it” is a board member. https://dennisfischman.com/your-board-is-not-your-audience/

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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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