How to Love Fundraising
And if you’re a fundraiser, you’re helping make it happen. I challenge you to name a good deed that has a more positive impact than fundraising. Isn’t it time to put any disdain for fundraising behind us?
Fundraising is a long way from perfect. We need to make it more relevant. More affirming. More efficient and effective. But you’ll make fundraising better by loving it, not by hating it.
If you want to like fundraising (or like it more), here are three steps you can take:
1. Know donors; have a Mrs. Boswell. When I first started in this business, I met a wise copywriter — a master of the craft. On his desk was a photo of a smiling older woman. Not his mother. He said, “That’s Mrs. Boswell. She goes to my church. She’s the kindest, most generous person. She cares about everything, and gives to charity. When I write fundraising, I write to her!”
2. Get into donors’ heads. As a fundraising professional, you’re probably younger and more conscious of the process than any normal person ever would be. One great way to escape your built-in biases: Read what donors read, especially things outside your comfort and taste zones. Like the National Enquirer. People magazine. Guideposts. These venerable publications know their audiences. Learn from them.
3. Be a donor. Hey, with all the good things it does for you, this is a no-brainer! Give to your own nonprofit. Give to others. Give by mail. Give online. Give casually to strangers. Study the feeling it creates in you. Study the flood of fundraising that comes your way. You’ll discover — with your heart and your head — what donors experience.
Jeff Brooks is creative director at Merkle/Domain.