If fundraising were a person, and he or she was on Facebook, I’d tag her/him with the nasty “25 Random Things” meme. We’d learn some surprising things about fundraising. But since fundraising itself is a mute nonentity, I’ve taken the job upon myself …
1. The oldest recorded fundraising appeal was written by St. Paul around A.D. 55. It’s an appeal to a group of church members in Greece to help impoverished church members in Jerusalem. The appeal is a masterpiece of donor-centered fundraising, spending most of its words describing the benefits of giving.
2. Race and ethnicity are not good predictors of charitable giving. Age and sex, however, are strong predictors: Women give more than men, and older people give more than younger people.
3. Someone who regularly attends a house of worship is twice as likely to give to charitable causes as someone who seldom or never does. The churchgoer gives 100 times as much to charity per year — including 50 times as much to nonreligious causes.
4. Measuring by percentage of gross domestic product, the United States gives more to private charity than do any of the world’s nations. The U.S. is followed by Israel, Canada and Argentina. The most generous European nations — Spain, Ireland and the U.K. — give less than half of what the U.S. gives on a percentage basis.
5. The most read part of a fundraising letter is the P.S. That’s why the professionals always use the P.S. to restate the letter’s call to action, rather than for the traditional afterthought.
6. Mail recipients spend more time looking at the back of the envelope than the front. Think about it: You have to face the back toward you in order to get the envelope open. A tricky way to take advantage of this is to put the recipient’s address (or the window that displays it) on the flap side of the envelope.