5 serious fundraising mistakes that you might be making

When an analytics expert talks, listen.

They are fact and data driven. They (the good ones anyway) are by nature immune to hype. They tell it as it is. That’s why I very highly recommend this series of posts on the top 5 mistakes in fundraising by my friend Bill Jacobs, writing on the Analytical Ones Blog:

  1. Stopping New Donor Acquisition. Because getting new donors is a net-revenue negative most of the time, some organizations cut it when things get tough. Mistake! As Bill says, when organizations do that, “the future revenue forecast after stopping new donor acquisition looks like a downhill ski slope into hell.”
  2. Not Mailing Major Donors. It happens every time. Somebody decides major donors should not be getting direct mail. They’ll just hate it. Next thing that happens: Major donors go uncultivated. They get no communications at all. They stop giving entirely.
  3. Chasing Younger Donors. This is another no-win situation. Young donors seem like such a great solution to so many of our problems. They are not. You’ll be okay if you think of young donors as people between 55 and 65. Otherwise young donors will lead you into a world of financial pain.
  4. Legacy “No-Mail” Flags. It’s amazing how often no-mail flags propagate through files, often with nobody knowing how they got there. Look at your no-mail flags regularly and make sure they make sense.
  5. CRM Expectations A great database system is a great thing. But it won’t solve all your problems. As Bill says, “A tool is only as good as the person who uses it.”

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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.