What donors really don’t care about

One thing that makes fundraising difficult is that the things we think are important are rarely what donors think are important.

So when we create messages that feel on-target, super-eloquent, and utterly persuasive … we’ve almost surely just made some annoying sounds that will move few donors to action.

It helps to get realistic about what you care about but donors don’t, and here’s a post about that at Heroic Fundraising: The 9 Things Your Donors Don’t Care About:

  1. Which fiscal year her gift falls into. “You haven’t given yet this fiscal year” is not a reason to donate.
  2. That it’s your charity’s anniversary.
  3. The semantics of restricted vs. unrestricted gifts. This is an important distinction — for you. For must donors, it’s meaningless.
  4. The minutiae of your brand. You really worked hard on those brand standards. Donors don’t notice or care. Don’t talk about them!
  5. Whether the stories in your appeal are local.
  6. Providing extra information with her gift. While it’s useful to collect email addresses and other information, don’t let those things become a barrier to giving.
  7. Your charity’s founder. They don’t care.
  8. That you’re sending “too much” mail. You are just as likely (actually, much more likely) to be sending too little mail.
  9. That you’re in a capital campaign. Capital campaigns can run independently of your normal fundraising.

Donors care about what they can do through your organization to put their values into action. When you make your fundraising about that, it just works.


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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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