12 Principles of Fundraising
Last fall, the class I taught for several semesters at a local university was renamed. It is no longer called “The Art of Fundraising.” Instead, it is now “Principles of Fundraising.”
While the new name didn’t require a change in my syllabus or lectures, it did cause me to step back and ask, “What are the principles of fundraising that I think are most important? What do I most want my students to remember as they are launched into the world as professional fundraisers?”
Principle 1: You are NOT the target audience. So figure out who is.
If you read my Fundraising Matters blog regularly, you expect this to be at or very near the top. I know I am repeating myself! But this principle is that important.
- “I don’t like it.”
- “The copy is too long.”
- “That color doesn’t work for me.”
I’ve said all of those things from time to time. But honestly, who cares what I think? The only thing I should ask (assuming we’re on the right side of ethical) is, “Will this copy/design/color raise money?”
As a fundraiser, you know too much about fundraising. As an employee of a nonprofit or a consultant to one, you know too much about the inner working of that organization. Your donors or prospects don’t have that insight. Remember that. You’ll never see your target audience until you ditch the mirror.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.