Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 8: your history

Your organization’s founding and amazing milestones are important. They can inspire you and help you understand where you are today.

But your history does not belong in your fundraising.

Fundraising is about one thing: Action the donor can take now.

Every sentence you spend dwelling on your past is a sentence that’s not about what the donor can do right now.

The story may be wonderful — some nonprofit origins stories are amazing … though most are pretty boring.

Use your history to inspire yourself, your staff, your board, and other insiders.

Keep it out of your fundraising.


Comments

4 responses to “Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 8: your history”

  1. What if your history was shaped in a large way through someone’s philanthropy? I work at a school that received a $1 million gift almost 40 years ago and it was the major reason we are still here today. We were hoping to tie in the impact of that donor, and how our donors now continue to have that same impact. Would welcome your thoughts.

  2. What if your history was shaped in a large way through someone’s philanthropy? I work at a school that received a $1 million gift almost 40 years ago and it was the major reason we are still here today. We were hoping to tie in the impact of that donor, and how our donors now continue to have that same impact. Would welcome your thoughts.

  3. Janice Sturmey Avatar
    Janice Sturmey

    Hello Dave,
    after reading a lot of Jeff’s insights, even though this is how you started and is important to you, it might not be a motivator to give. Jeff usually says focus on the need, focus on who needs help. Some donors might be interested in your history but rarely is it a compelling reason to give.

  4. Janice Sturmey Avatar
    Janice Sturmey

    Hello Dave,
    after reading a lot of Jeff’s insights, even though this is how you started and is important to you, it might not be a motivator to give. Jeff usually says focus on the need, focus on who needs help. Some donors might be interested in your history but rarely is it a compelling reason to give.

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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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