Funds for All & All for Funds

Welcome to my blog! I'd like you to consider this an interactive space for sharing information, successes, ideas, strategies, and links to help us all raise more funds for nonprofits.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inspiring others to give

Fundraising is getting professionalized, and I wonder if with the arrival of letters after our names (well, not mine), the essential art of raising funds quietly slips out the door, letter by letter. In the latter case, I think it's the letters of communication slipping away. Much fundraising I see has the character of arm-twisting or advertising, and is moving farther and farther away from the humane work of simply inspiring people to give.

I had this in the back of my mind while searching for information on bequest marketing, (yes, I admit I was googling the term "marketing"), and I came across the blog of one English fundraiser named Ken Burnett. Pretty far down in his article was this stunning quote, which I want to print out and paste on my monitor:

  • "The secret of success is to realise that at its heart fundraising is little more than telling great stories very well. And it is nothing less than the inspiration business. For we don’t just ask for money, we inspire it."

Burnett goes on to quote from a book: 

"George Smith put it in his brilliant little book the Tiny Essentials of Writing for Fundraising (White Lion Press 2003), which will make our donor’s heart soar. What he actually wrote was
"‘I suggest your heart would soar if – once in a while – you received a letter written in decent English which said unexpected things in elegant ways, which moved you and stirred your emotions, which angered you or made you proud, a letter which you wanted to read from beginning to end, a letter apparently written by one individual to another individual. For you never see these letters any more...’"
Burnett and White Lion Press are based in England, but fundraising principles are based on human nature, so I don't think it matters whether you're raising pounds or dollars, the "Tiny Essentials" would be the same. I'm going to get it for my library.

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