6 Ways Your Boss Is Wrong
Is your boss killing your fundraising? If so, you aren't alone. Based on what I hear again and again from friends all over the fundraising world, it seems bad direction from bosses (or board members) is a leading cause of ineffective fundraising.
The reason? They're making a very common error: They don't realize fundraising is a profession. They don't know that it's a discipline with a body of knowledge, research and standards of excellence. Your boss, not being in the profession, has little to go on but instinct or what seems to be right. That pretty much guarantees bad direction.
Just as the medical profession figured out quite a few years ago that cutting a hole in your arm and letting you bleed isn't a great way to combat illness, professional fundraisers are past the hunch-and-guess stage of our craft.
Your boss wouldn't want his doctor, his IT guy or his plumber to operate on hunches and guesses. It's time he started relying on facts and knowledge from his fundraising professionals.
Here's how we'll start the change. Below are some of the most common and destructive boss misconceptions about fundraising. I urge you to share this article with your boss and any other ill-informed authorities as needed. Perhaps they'll believe it because it's printed in a reputable magazine. And it's not just me saying this. Anyone with solid professional experience in fundraising will agree with these things.
Misconception No. 1 : 'Nobody reads long letters'
This is probably the most common bad advice from the boss. She simply can't imagine that anyone has the time and patience to read more than a single page. She seems to believe that not only will a long letter go unread, but that it will depress response.
We don't know how much of our letters donors read. But we do know this: In test after test after test, longer messages get more response than shorter ones. There are all kinds of theories why it's so. But the theories don't matter as much as the established fact: Longer messages work. If they aren't reading them, they sure are responding to them.