The first step every fundraiser needs to take

Can you see the gap between you and your donors?

It’s a gap of knowledge, understanding, and sophistication about your cause.

You have a lot of those things. (I hope you do, anyway!)

Your donors, not as much.

You’re an expert.

They are not experts.

But they care, and they want to donate. They don’t need to become experts like you in order to care enough to give.

It’s up to you to cross the gap.

When you understand this truth, fundraising starts to go very much better.

That’s the important and encouraging point of this post at the Better Fundraising Blog: The Gap and The Gift.

Crossing the gap means:

  • You use language they understand, not your professional jargon.
  • You don’t load up your fundraising with complex “how it works” material … you focus on “what your gift will do.”
  • You focus on specifics, not abstractions.
  • You talk about things that motivate donors — not what motivates you. (And this means you put effort into discovering what motivates donors.)

It’s not easy to cross the gap. It’s one of the most counterintuitive things you’ll ever do.

But it’s an act of generosity, kindness, and open-heartedness …

And when you’ve done the generous thing – crossed the gap to meet the donor where they are – then you can ask them to take a first step towards involvement and greater understanding.

When you cross the gap, they can cross it too, and become partners in 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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