Perhaps the single biggest waste of time and money in fundraising is the general brochure.
That's because of what it usually sets out to do:
It explains "what we do."
It shows how superior our processes are.
It brags about how long we've been around, what awards we've won, and how famous our CEO/Founder is.
I've noticed that many general brochures focus in on what we don't do -- as if that could possibly be of any interest to donors.
Basically, most nonprofit general brochures are a four-color exercise in chest-thumping.
Which is a complete waste of time, money, ink, and paper.
It doesn't have to be that way. If your general brochure spent its energy bragging about the donor instead of the organization, you'd have something powerful on your hands.
If it was about...
What you can do through us.
How much difference you can make when you give through us.
Why you can trust us, why others trust us, and what third parties have said about us. (This is the part that comes closest to bragging, but if you're really good, it won't be braggy.)
And it never, ever, talks about what you don't do. Because that's worse than boring. It's annoying.
That kind of general brochure would support fundraising. Not undermine it, the way the other kind does.
But here's another thing about brochures: In direct mail, even a good brochure usually depresses response.
There are too many brochures in the world. Maybe you can do you part in decreasing the overpopulation of brochures by not creating any at all.