How to discourage donors from making a difference

Here’s an example of fundcrushing I encountered while on vacation:

Manchesterfundcrushing

Fundcrushing is a form of anti-fundraising that works on the mistaken assumption that people will want to respond to a situation if they understand how huge it is.

It’s exactly wrong. Donors are far more likely to give when they see how solvable a problem is, not how big.

An overwhelmingly huge problem is actually more of a reason not to give.

In this case, the daily cost of running the cathedral seems insurmountable. It’s not a particularly famous building — the only other person in the space when we were there was a priest. The idea of raising £2,880 (that’s $4,320!) every single day beggars the imagination. Why bother putting my few pounds in the slot? It won’t put a dent in the problem!

What it should say is something that shows each potential donor that their contribution matters. Maybe:

This beautiful church is kept in good shape by the generosity of visitors like you! On average, our guests donate £3 for the upkeep of the building. Thank you!

That would be the fundraising way to do it.

Here are more examples of Fundcrushing.

(This post first appeared on May 4, 2016.)


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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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