Fundraising: You’re probably wrong about it

“You’re probably wrong.”

All fundraisers should start from that point, says the GroupThinkers Blog, at Performance creative: We’re all just guessing until we test.

That’s an incredibly important point.

Because until you know otherwise, “probably wrong” is the most reasonable assumption about anything in fundraising, from color and font choice to offers, to the words you use.

… you should be willing to have the data surprise you. Donors will reveal what matters to them through their actions. Keep an open mind throughout this process. You might be surprised what you’ll learn about your donors.

One thing you’ll notice about fundraising results is that donors frequently don’t respond in ways that align with what you think “should” work best.

The most common alternative to assuming you’re wrong until proven otherwise is I like it, so it will probably work.

Which is far more likely to lead to failure than success.

That’s why you should always test before you decide what works.

For the large majority of fundraisers who don’t have sufficient numbers to run statistically valid tests, you need to start with what’s known in the industry, because that is based on many years of statically rigorous testing.


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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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