Fundraising for ROI is a big mistake

Many fundraisers keep a laser-like focus on return on investment (ROI). The higher, the better.

That seems to make sense. But it can limit your success and scuttle future growth, as described by the Veritus Blog, at Don’t Be Obsessed with ROI:

There are far too many non-profit leaders who are obsessed with having a high return on investment – so they don’t take any risks, don’t support their staff, fail to properly invest in their major gift pipeline and ultimately don’t grow as an organization.

ROI is a handy little number that can help you understand what’s going on with your fundraising. You can improve ROI at the expense of net revenue. If you focus on ROI, you will do exactly that.

ROI is not a goal; it’s a useful under-the-hood indicator that can help you fine-tune your work.

But the goal is net revenue. That’s what funds your mission.


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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.

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