Your fundraising isn’t corny enough

If someone in authority tells you your fundraising message is corny, you should not take the to mean you need to revise it so it’s not so corny.

You should tell that person, “Thanks for your astute observation! I worked very hard to make it corny, and your comment gives me confidence that I succeeded and that it is likely to do well.”

(Okay, that’s probably not the smartest thing to say to some people in authority. You might need to find a more diplomatic way to say it.)

Thing is, “corny” is not a bad quality in fundraising. It’s a good thing nearly every time.

Corny — meaning old-fashioned, unsophisticated, goofy, hokey — just works in fundraising.

Every minute you spend making corny fundraising less corny is time spent lowering your revenue.

Don’t do that!

Now if someone tells you your fundraising is sophisticated and businesslike, you probably need to reconsider, because you’re sailing toward failure.

(This post first appeared on November 2, 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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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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