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09 December 2013


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This scenario is where you insist on a split test. A "put your money where your mouth is" straight up challenge. Explain that you believe in your letter & are happy to rise to the challenge... are they?

"What is it about fundraising that makes people who know nothing about it so confident they can do it better than the professionals? People who've never read a single book about how to do fundraising right ... never read one of the hundreds of blogs that focus on the topic ... never been to one of the conferences that are rich with useful content about it ... never labored under a mentor who knew profession inside and out -- they're completely sure that they can do better than those who've done all that?"

If there are Executive Directors who haven't done at least any three of the four things you mention in this paragraph, they're probably in the wrong profession.

Did you at least have the satisfaction of going over the poor results with the ED?

Even (or sometimes especially) Executive Directors, even those who are good one-on-one with donors, are still clueless about donor communications and what works. I don't know why. Perhaps they are in the wrong profession. But they're still the ones who end up deciding what goes out to donors.

I'm with you on the Ahern Rule, Jeff! As a consultant, it's easier to say, "I know this stuff, trust me. I'm the expert," than it is as an employee.

I so feel you, follow Tom A closely, and I hesitate to ask, but can you re-write this so I can give it to my boss without offending him? He's really nice, despite his lackluster writing. :D

Speaking as a clueless executive director, I agree, but I don't. Hyper-emotional appeals are not always right, and they can in some cases be destructive.

My response is here (and yes, I agree with the first commenter that the real answer is an A/B test).


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It's not about any technology, medium, or technique. It's about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It's already here. More.

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JeffJeff Brooks, creative director at TrueSense Marketing, has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 20 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you'll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff.brooks [at] truesense [dot] com. More.

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