Your donors don’t care about your fundraising

Hey, what’s the coolest new trend in fundraising?

Sure, I’m interested.

But do you want to know who doesn’t give a rip about what’s hot and what’s not in fundraising?

Your donors.

It doesn’t matter how cool the latest new thing is if it doesn’t reach them.

I know that’s obvious, but it’s easy to forget.

And a recent article in Campaign, a UK ad-industry publication is a great reminder: No-one cares about your campaign.

The author took a break from work and started to notice something weird: All the cool new stuff ad people talk about just wasn’t registering on him. In fact, he noted that while a major fast-food advertiser was basking in glory and industry admiration for its “groundbreaking” ad that showed a gross, moldy hamburger, the only ad he noted from them was when they had a sale on meals. The kind of ad that will never win an award, ever.

Here’s his conclusion, and it’s something we all need to keep in mind:

We need to step out of our bubble. Remind ourselves who we’re actually making the work for…. It’s real people doing real-life things that are way more important than an ad. Real people have the power to tell us if our work is truly successful….

We need to get out of our world and into theirs. Find out what will get their attention. What makes them tick. What will stop them in their tracks. And when we’ve done that, we need to make sure our concept, art direction, copy and design work so … hard that anyone looking at it might just act on it.

Never forget who we’re hoping to connect with and what we hope they’ll do.

That means slightly different things for each of us, but for all of us, it means:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Make it about them, not us.
  • Really know who they actually are. And the main thing they are is not us.


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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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