Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 5: Your awareness day

Every day is an awareness day for something. Today (September 2) is World Coconut Day, meant “to make people aware about the importance of this crop in poverty reduction.”

Your cause no doubt has an awareness day too.

And that’s great.

But an awareness day is not a reason donors give.

Don’t go out with a message like this: “Please donate today to celebrate World Coconut Day to remember the importance of the humble coconut’s role in the reduction of poverty around the world.”

If that’s the only reason you can suggest for the donor to give, you don’t really have a fundraising message. You need to give some more thought to real reasons donors might want to donate.

There’s no reason you need to avoid your awareness day. It’s as good a day as any for raising funds (other than December 31 and probably a few others for you). But it’s not a motivator to give. Few of your donors have ever heard of your awareness day. Even fewer care. And fewer yet have any emotional connection with the day.

There are a very small number of exceptions to this. If your awareness day is one of these days that’s known by donors and actually commemorated by them — you already know that. If not, you aren’t going to make it so by wanting it be so.

And organizations that successfully leverage awareness days always have real reasons the donor might give — they show the donor that giving makes the world a better place and puts her values into action. The awareness day merely supplies a deadline or an “excuse” for talking about your cause.

Fundraising is about putting action in the hands of donors.

Not calendar proclamations.


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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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