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a fundraiser

I love this quote in your "about" section: He'd like to see bad, misleading, fraudulent, thoughtless, and anti-donor fundraising consigned to eternal flames of woe.

I couldn't agree more. Check out my blog and let me know what you think... it's an online hall of shame.

Jeff Brooks

I doubt you can lose by being honest and open with donors. Why not say to them, "Giving was lower than we expected; now we're having to think about cutting back on programs." Treat them as insiders, not as an audience; assume individual behavior, not mob dynamics.


I worry that revising our goal down could have a dappening effect on donors. That is, people won't give because they'll think if we don't meet our goal it means other people aren't giving. Any advice on that?

Jeff Brooks

Three ideas, in order of preference:

1. Revise your goal.

2. Go back to donors, tell 'em you didn't meet your goal, ask again -- because it's so important.

3. Go back to donors, tell 'em you didn't meet your goal, ask them what you should do. Give up on the goal? Scale it back? Go for it? Offer donors their money back if they'd rather you not pursue the goal. Ask them to give again if they support the goal. (This would be the radical donor-powered approach that your boss won't let you do, unless she's much smarter than most.)


Good advice, but what should you do if you tell your donors you need them, lay out a goal, and then don't raise enough money to meet the goal? Is there a good way to handle that?

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If you're serious about raising money from donors, you need to get serious about donors. More than ever before, donors are insisting that you share power with them, not treating them like passive ATMs. This blog is about the ways you can do that -- and the rewards that await you and your donors when you do.

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DonorPower Blog is penned by Merkle's Power Blogging Team, led by Greg Fox, our senior vice president of strategy. Working with Greg is a police line-up of guest "artists", fundraising pros all, who like to pose as blogatorialists when the sun goes down. You can reach this blog, and any of our regular contributors, at
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