Fundraising is temporary

Ephemera

It doesn’t feel good to acknowledge it, but we fundraisers produce a steady stream of ephemera: Stuff that only matters for a while, then becomes useless.

Like tickets stubs from a show you went to last week. Or yesterday’s grocery receipt.

These things are useful for a short time, then they turn into garbage.

Don’t feel bad about it.

But be realistic. Even the most ephemeral ephemera is useful.

The key to fundraising success is to make sure you really grab that brief moment of usefulness before your fundraising turns into junk…

Make sure it grabs attention.

Make sure it’s simple, clear, emotional, and focused.

Make sure it’s easy to respond to.

But most of all, be clear in your own mind that your fundraising project has only a short few minutes (or seconds) of life. You aren’t creating a deathless classic — that would be a whole different task!

Get comfortable with the temporary nature of your fundraising. That’s when you make it work best.


Comments

4 responses to “Fundraising is temporary”

  1. Barbara Avatar
    Barbara

    And that’s how you end up with a basement stuffed with signage, materials, supplies, and other stuff that used to work well but now what do we do with it?? I have so, so many empty bowls that were donated by local potters that we sold at a community event to raise funds to end hunger. Now the annual community festival stopped happening and we haven’t been able to sell the bowls successfully anywhere else.

  2. Barbara Avatar
    Barbara

    And that’s how you end up with a basement stuffed with signage, materials, supplies, and other stuff that used to work well but now what do we do with it?? I have so, so many empty bowls that were donated by local potters that we sold at a community event to raise funds to end hunger. Now the annual community festival stopped happening and we haven’t been able to sell the bowls successfully anywhere else.

  3. Eliza Olson Avatar
    Eliza Olson

    Don’t panic about the bowls! Use them for “thank you” gifts. Wait until the community events start up again or how about asking florists if they can use them or put them on your website to sell. Or put something on your website and ask the visitors to it give you ideas of what to do with them.

  4. Eliza Olson Avatar
    Eliza Olson

    Don’t panic about the bowls! Use them for “thank you” gifts. Wait until the community events start up again or how about asking florists if they can use them or put them on your website to sell. Or put something on your website and ask the visitors to it give you ideas of what to do with them.

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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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