Old Dog Fundraising

Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.

As 2023 is looming in your windshield, I am sharing some ways I’ve found to reduce frustration and — most importantly — improve confidence in your skills as a fundraiser. I encourage you to choose at least three of them and make them part of your personal career growth plan for 2023.

Writing a successful fundraising communication — be it an e-appeal, social media post, direct mail letter, personal letter, program copy or anything else — can feel daunting. Especially given the high rate of failure (since 100% response is rare), having to write the ask can seem like a pathway to failure.

While the concept of fundraising via e-appeals and mail may sound so last century, I assure you it is an important foundational piece for a fundraising program of the 2020s.

Direct response is not as sexy as taking donors to the golf course or hosting the annual major donor cruise, but I’m proud of what I do because I have seen the results of the money I have raised over the years. And if someone says to me, “Oh, you do junk mail?” that’s OK.

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