Goofus, Gallant and You
When I was growing up, one of the best days of the month was when our Highlights Magazine was delivered. In addition to finding the hidden pictures and doing the simple science experiments, I always turned to see what advice Goofus and Gallant had for me. Basically, Goofus told us what not to do, while Gallant demonstrated what should be done in a given situation.
Sometimes, being a fundraiser means figuring out who is the Goofus - and who is the Gallant - in your life. Well-meaning folks have opinions about fundraising. While some are interesting points of view, others can lead us down dangerous paths. For example. . . .
Nobody would ever. . . . (fill in the blank)
Unfortunately, this message too often comes from board members, fellow staff and key volunteers. One thinks a letter is too long, another is sure an ask too strong or a photo too vivid.
The problem is, as someone put it so succinctly today in a meeting I was part of, "It's not about you." As employees or volunteers, we know more and understand better - so we don't need as much information to help us grasp the need and the difference a gift can make.
Avoid giving in to any Goofus in your life who tells you how to do your fundraising without basing this advice on testing and relevant experience. When you talk to donors and prospects, they depend on you to help them understand.
Always say "Thank you"
I read an interesting article recently about whether or not a thank you from a nonprofit matters to the donor. But as Gallant would remind us, it's always right to say thanks.
While a donor may say he or she doesn't need a thank you, it's hard to imagine a situation when (assuming it is appropriate) it would hurt. Isn't it a pleasant surprise when the cashier genuinely thanks you for your purchase (not just the canned "thankyouforyourpurchase" that is mumbled with no eye contact or enunciation)?
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.