Fundraising From Yourself
You are in the same boat. The stuff you like, that makes your heart sing, that makes you feel proud and happy … if it showed up in your mailbox I can almost guarantee you would not respond to it. The stuff you love clearly tickles a certain part of your brain. It's just not that part that prompts you to give.
Think of it this way: "I love that" really means "People aren't going to respond to that."
And it doesn't help to go to your spouse, your co-workers or your friends and ask if they'd respond — you're still fundraising from yourself. Asking their opinions is like asking your canary, "Does this cat food taste good?"
Here are some of the destructive effects of fundraising from yourself:
Almost every time I've seen a nonprofit embark on the adventure of "creating a brand," it has made its fundraising demonstrably and measurably weaker. That's because the way nonprofits go about branding is a form of fundraising from yourself: They get all the "stakeholders" involved (and donors are never considered stakeholders) and hash out how everyone would like the organization to express itself.
They work until they can all say, "Yes, this really captures who we are." This makes us feel good.
And guess what? All that stuff that makes the insiders happy — it doesn't mean anything to donors. Why would it? But now, enshrined as the "brand," it becomes the foundation of all the messaging. Fundraising swirls down the drain.
Worse yet is what happens with the graphic part of the brand. Created by and for the tastes and needs of hip, young marketing professionals, it is nearly always cool, faddish and devilishly hard to read. Exactly the wrong thing for fundraising, which is a form of elder marketing.