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Hot Appeals or Burnt Offerings: Do's and Don'ts for Twenty-First Century Fundraising
by:Herschell Gordon Lewis
It's a new century and with it a radically difference fundraising ambience from that of the kinder, gentler 1980s and 1990s. That world was certainly competitive; but the competition didn't include the World Wide Web and a welter of other forces--some positive, others sinister--competing for and weighing down on your loyal patrons. In this world of...
It's a new century and with it a radically difference fundraising ambience from that of the kinder, gentler 1980s and 1990s. That world was certainly competitive; but the competition didn't include the World Wide Web and a welter of other forces--some positive, others sinister--competing for and weighing down on your loyal patrons. In this world of instant worldwide communication, the local library competes with the local symphony orchestra ... which competes with the local hospital, which competes with national hospitals ... which in turn compete with international organizations soliciting funds for helping the poor or eradicating diseases ... which in turn compete with the local library. In addition to greater immediacy and greater competition, there is the greater ability to target actual donors and potential donors. Add to this is another reality that hasn't changed: Donors have a finite amount of money approximately the same amount as in the pre-Internet, pre-World Wide Web days-- to contribute to all causes. Two words are operative here. First is Attention, because our best potential donors are the ones whose attention is most in play. They're the ones whose e-mail boxes are the most crowded. They're the ones most likely to be jaded by constant "We need help" messages from various nonprofit sources. They're the ones most likely to be courted by every competitor, whether library, orchestra, college, hospital, or major cause. And theirs is the attention most likely to be fragmented. The second operative word is Relevance. Those others out there, they aren't as relevant as we are. They don't offer as much personal recognition, which in turn means they don't offer as much personal satisfaction. So we turn on the psychological afterburners and go for emotional relevance. Otherwise, we're just one more lifeboat bobbing aimlessly in the roiling competitive seas. This is a deep-into-twenty-first century book, giving guidance to weatherin
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