When natural disasters hit, fundraising skyrockets.
That's a good thing, but it also creates a problem: It makes many fundraisers stupid. Because it leads them to believe that the everyday grind of normal fundraising is way too much work for far too little reward.
Disaster fundraising is nothing like normal fundraising. It's a matter of speed, simplicity, and just being there. Media coverage takes care of the rest, and people give like crazy.
During a disaster, you can raise funds through media that don't normally work, like spot radio and newspaper print ads. You can even raise funds on Twitter (well, some do). Heck, you could design a dumb, abstract, unoriginal poster and raise funds.
The rest of the time, fundraising is a lot more work: Finding realistic prospects, keeping costs low, telling great stories, building relationships. You do all that, and still don't raise as much as you do during a disaster.
What a drag!
No wonder we're all ears when someone comes along peddling disaster fundraising during non-disaster times. Mobile! Twitter! Media blitz! Skywriting!
Just say no. If they're promising a medium that normally doesn't work, say no. If they're promising young donors, say no. If they're promising over-the-top response, say no.
There are breakthroughs to be made in everyday fundraising. But the path to success is not imitating disaster fundraising.