4 words you should never use in fundraising

The need never ends.

It’s a common trope in fundraising.

It’s based on the assumption that people are motivated to give when they understand that a problem is big and/or intractable.

Bad assumption. In fact, statements like that are reasons not to donate.

The Better Fundraising Blog points out the problem, at The Need Never Ends:

A core motivator for individual donors is to make a change happen. By saying that the need never ends, this organization is also guiding people’s attention on the fact that their contributions will never solve the problem – that the situation will never change.

Fundraising is about hope and change. It’s about meaningful solutions that donors can be part of.

When you focus on how huge and difficult a problem is, you’re really telling donors there’s really no point in giving. You won’t make a difference.

In some cases, it may be that the need never ends. But that’s beside the point for donors.

They’re looking for ways to make a difference, even in a small way.

That’s what you need to talk about.


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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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