Fundraising is not journalism

Fundraising writing and journalism have something important things in common:

Both are built on a foundation of storytelling.

And that’s about all.

Journalism is about information. It means to tell the whole story — the who, what, where, why, when, and how. All the relevant details and all the available information. And doing so in as clear and neutral as way as possible. It’s about giving people information. An ethical journalist does not try to lead readers in any particular direction other than knowledge. What people do with the information is not the journalist’s concern.

Fundraising is about action. It tells enough of the story to motivate readers to donate. Details that don’t help with that can be left out. It has a clear and unashamed point of view and a stated goal to influence readers. The story told in fundraising should always link in to the story of the donor.

Learning journalism is a great way to be good at storytelling: It’s all about getting information from the real world, writing about it clearly and vividly, and doing it all on deadline.

But when it comes to telling a fundraising story, that’s when you step away from many of journalism’s well-defined rules.


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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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