Fundraising is hard work. Getting it right takes skill, experience, planning, and attention to detail.
Here are three secrets — known only to real fundraising veterans — that will help you make better decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and generally amaze everyone with your fundraising wizardry.
- Donors like to donate:
Too many fundraisers approach their work as if they are annoying donors or taking something away from them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is ... donors love to give. Giving feels good. It even makes them happier and healthier. People instinctively want to do good. Never, ever feel guilty or reluctant about asking people to give. You’re doing them a favor by giving them the chance to make a difference — and they know it.
- Fundraising is about action:
One way that you can tell the fundraising professionals from the amateurs is this: The amateurs talk to donors about philosophy, concepts, and abstractions. The pros talk about action: Write a check. Go online. Give today. All fundraising aims at a concrete, specific call to action. Everything in your appeal — the headlines, the copy, the images — should all be designed to motivate donors to take action.
- You are not your donor:
This is the biggest fundraising wizard secret of all. If you make decisions based on what you think you would respond to, you will make poor decisions. You are different from your donors in many ways, including, in all likelihood, age and education. But the most important way you’re different from your donors is that you’re very much aware of — and educated about — your cause. Always strive to create fundraising that’s based on proven, time-tested principles, and aims at known donor behavior — not what you, your boss, or your board members would like to see.
Be sure to keep these three secrets in mind the next time you’re brainstorming ideas for an upcoming appeal — and watch the magic happen!
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