Two reasons fundraising is working so well right now

Organizations that are connecting with donors are raising never-before-experienced levels of funds. New donors are showing up for the party. Donors are giving larger gifts than they’ve ever given. It’s truly extraordinary.

Why is this happening?

Two main reasons.

Unlike most crises, everyone is in this one together. Nobody has to be told “It’s a crisis. It’s bad. It’s a big deal.”

Most of the time fundraisers have the fairly difficult task of telling people about a problem they’re only distantly aware of: A famine half-way around the world. An ecosystem they’ve never seen being destroyed. Poverty in their own community — but not their own home.

But this crisis … everyone knows it’s happening, and they’re feeling the impact of it every day.

That’s the most fertile ground fundraising can fall on. To succeed, you pretty much just need to be in front of the donor with a relevant need. All the hard stuff — creating compelling calls to action, finding the right story, coming up with the right images and other evidence that can motivate donors to give … all of that is easy right now.

That’s one reason you’re doing so well.

The other reason is much sadder.

You’re doing well because so many other fundraisers have gone silent. They’re so afraid donors will be upset with them for asking during this hard time, they figure it’s better to go with no revenue at all.

So mailboxes and inboxes are nearly empty.

Your fundraising message is not one of several, the way it usually is. The chance your message will be read is far higher than usual.

Good news for a few of us. But terrible for all of us.

It means a huge percentage of nonprofit organizations — we don’t know yet how many of them — are abandoning their donors. And quite likely abandoning their causes.

Some of them will go bankrupt. It didn’t have to happen, but they chose organizational failure over courage and faith in their donors. Especially now, weeks into the crisis, when it’s clear those who are raising funds are suffering no blowback — other than so many donations to process it’s a burden.

The nonprofit leaders who are driving this mass-suicide are utterly negligent. Shame on them.

The rest of us will need to pick up the slack.


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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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