Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 6: your unique process

Your organization is really on top of things. I hope.

Assuming you are, that’s great! You owe it to your cause, those you help, and your donors to have amazing processes that are effective and proven.

But your unique approach, as excellent as it is, is not a reason for donors to donate!

How often do we see fundraising that looks like this:

Your gift will fund our fast action response team, who will patrol the coastal waters for distressed dolphins. When they find a suffering animal, they’ll gently assess its health, then formulate a rescue plan that meets its urgent needs, and they’ll save its life.

That isn’t fundraising. There’s not a single reason to give in that paragraph. It belongs in your employee handbook.

Donors don’t give to make an effective process happen.

They give to make a give to make a great outcome happen.

They aren’t more likely to give because you’ve shown them your process. They’ll give if you can make them believe their gift can bring about the outcome.

So the paragraph above should be more like this:

Your gift will help save dolphins from painful and lonely deaths.

Put some action in the donor’s hands. When it’s something she wants to happen (and she believes it’s real) — that’s when she’ll donate.


Comments

2 responses to “Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 6: your unique process”

  1. Bill Banoy Avatar
    Bill Banoy

    Donors absolutely care about the process behind how their money is spent. “Help save dolphins from painful and lonely deaths,” aside from sounding manipulatively pathetic, tells me nothing about what my donation actually does. If I knew my money was actually going directly to response teams patrolling coastal waters, I’d be more inclined to give.
    Your other takes in this series have been pretty solid, but not this one.

  2. Bill Banoy Avatar
    Bill Banoy

    Donors absolutely care about the process behind how their money is spent. “Help save dolphins from painful and lonely deaths,” aside from sounding manipulatively pathetic, tells me nothing about what my donation actually does. If I knew my money was actually going directly to response teams patrolling coastal waters, I’d be more inclined to give.
    Your other takes in this series have been pretty solid, but not this one.

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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.