7 secrets for creating more effective fundraising

Here’s some good stuff from Clairification, at Secrets to Inspire Action on Your Nonprofit Appeal:

  1. Know Your Message. “It’s time for the Summer Appeal” is not fundraising. “Kids here in the community are going hungry” — that’s fundraising. Make sure you present would-be donors with a problem they care about and a solution they can envision being part of.
  2. Know Your Audience. They are not you. Pay attention to the demographics and psychographics of your donors. Watch their behavior. Be crystal-clear about who they are and what they respond to.
  3. Use Your Audience’s Words. Talk to them they way they talk. It’s a lot more plain-spoken than the business/academic/formal tone you learned in school.
  4. Create a Sense of Urgency. Give donors a reason that giving now is better than giving eventually. Later means never for most people.
  5. Make it Easy to Comprehend and Digest. Write for skimmers, because that’s what’s happening with virtually everyone you reach. Short words, short sentences, short paragraphs. Big fonts. Underlining and other forms of emphasis.
  6. Overcome Writer’s Block. It happens, and it can kill your productivity. Overcome the block by talking about what you’re writing to someone else. Or find a quiet place where you can think and write without interruption.
  7. Communicate for Understanding by Avoiding Jargon. You probably have a specialized professional jargon used in your organization. That’s fine, but don’t export that jargon to your fundraising. Your donors won’t know what you’re talking about.

I haven’t yet found a way to make fundraising easy, but keeping a checklist like this in front of you can really help!


Comments

2 responses to “7 secrets for creating more effective fundraising”

  1. Funny, reading this I was thinking, “I really should print this out and pin it up in front of me….” Then I got to the end. The printer is purring in the background.
    It never ceases to amaze me how this fundraising work benefits from constant reorientation. You’d think I would have learned by now, but your posts, Jeff, recenter me every time.
    The only other journey where I experience this surprising, basic need for repeated returning to the basics is the spiritual.
    Thank you.

  2. Funny, reading this I was thinking, “I really should print this out and pin it up in front of me….” Then I got to the end. The printer is purring in the background.
    It never ceases to amaze me how this fundraising work benefits from constant reorientation. You’d think I would have learned by now, but your posts, Jeff, recenter me every time.
    The only other journey where I experience this surprising, basic need for repeated returning to the basics is the spiritual.
    Thank you.

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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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