Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 4: Your color palette

Color is important. It communicates, connects, and reminds.

There is some evidence that warm and hot colors improve fundraising results.

So I hope you are paying attention to the ways you use color in your fundraising.

And part of being smart about color just might be to break from your organization’s color palette.

Because there’s a good change your color palette is doing more harm than good.

The experts who come up with brand color palettes often confuse communication with decoration. Their palettes are congruent, nice, and usually in step with the latest color fads from the fashion and design industries. Pleasing to look at.

But often bad for fundraising.

In general, fundraising isn’t at its best when it looks nice … or modern … or when it’s so congruent that nothing stands out very much. The most common color palette error happens on web pages, where the DONATE button fits nicely into the color scheme … so it’s hard to find, thus gets fewer clicks.

A color palette doesn’t automatically make this happen, but it’s a common unintended consequence.

If you have a brand palette, you should be allowed to depart from it as necessary. Or make it more of a color suggested palette, rather than a rigid limitation a color choice.

Your job as a fundraiser is not to look nice or be consistent. It’s to raise money. And sometimes (rather often, really), those things are conflicting goals.

More things that really don’t matter in 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.