2 beautiful truths that will make you an amazing fundraiser

Does asking for a gift hurt donors?

To hear some fundraisers and consultants talk, you might think it does. In fact, some folks in our industry seem to equate a direct mail fundraising appeal with a slap in the face by a very ripe kipper: rude, painful, odoriferous, and just plain uncalled-for.

This is a faulty and insidious assumption.

Worse yet, it’s self-fulfilling. Because if you believe fundraising hurts donors, I can almost guarantee you’re doing fundraising in a sloppy, disrespectful way.

The belief that donors just barely tolerate your communications and give in spite of them is wildly inaccurate. Think about it — your communications with donors are (for most of them) their entire experience of your organization. To say they love you but hate your communications would be like saying they love Netflix, but hate watching movies and TV online.

A more realistic approach is to believe in a couple of beautiful truths:

  1. Communicating with donors is good.
  2. Donors love to hear from you.

You’ll have a much more satisfying life if you believe these things rather than the pessimistic, self-destructive assumption that fundraising is bad, but we have to do it anyway.

Every touch you send to donors can and should be a positive, relationship-building experience — even when it doesn’t generate a gift.

Of course you don’t want to send irrelevant, money-wasting mail to people who aren’t interested and unlikely to give. That’s what smart segmentation is about. But in your heart, you need to believe that asking is good. Otherwise, you are on a path to anti-donor communications and fundraising failure. And one heck of a miserable career in fundraising.

If you struggle with that dark sense that asking is shameful, wrong, or hurts donors, here’s a little catechism that can improve things for you:

  • Donors donate.
  • Donors love to donate.
  • Giving feels good.
  • Giving is good.
  • Creating opportunities for giving is a great service to humanity.

Repeat this daily. When you feel these truths in your heart, you are a fundraiser.

(This post first appeared on January 25, 2018.)


Comments

2 responses to “2 beautiful truths that will make you an amazing fundraiser”

  1. So true – and I needed to be reminded of this today. Thank you, Jeff!

  2. So true – and I needed to be reminded of this today. Thank you, Jeff!

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

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.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

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.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

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.

Recent Comments

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.