Recently, I received two communications that are so stunningly perverse I had to bring them to you. As you know, I love my profession, I love fundraising and non profits, but every once in a while, I just have to throw up my hands and scream.
I received an email the other day, here's the first line:
Seriously folks? That is supposed to inspire me? Should I feel gratitude and well thanked? Nope, I actually feel like the PHA doesn't know me at all. The great irony, is that I didn't even make a gift to their "year end appeal", I gave as a result of Giving Tuesday, not as a result of their solicitations. I would laugh, but instead I'm sad. My good friend Mark, who writes on leadership and training for fundraisers here, said this on my Facebook: "Reminds me of story of the disappointed president when he found out an alumnus had given $40 million to a research institute instead of the $20 million gift he had solicited from the same donor for his alma mater. Said the donor: "You asked me to help finish your campaign. They asked me to help cure cancer and save lives."
I was so hoping this was an anomaly, but sadly, I know it's not. Two days later, I received this in the mail from an organization I've never supported before and who clearly bought my contact information from one I have. Le Sigh.
"My annual fund enclosed" is so inspiring. And having a president of a national organization address me as "friend" in a bad hand written mocking font moves my philanthropic heart more than you know.
But here's the kicker- I was told to detach the next bit of the mailing and place it in my wallet with pride...
Speechless. I'll put it right next to my health insurance? Or my Delta Sky Miles Card?
Yes, fundraising is a business, but we need to leave our business jargon out of it and instead tell our story and inspire our donors with that story. Folks, it's not about us, it's about them. The more we make the donor the hero, the better we all are. Words matter. Choose them carefully and let them inspire those that inspire us so much to continue our craft. Not only can we do better we must do better. Because it matters, not just to us, but to them and the future of our causes.
What are your thoughts? Am I being to harsh or are these examples as tragic as I believe? How do you combat jargon and junk to your donors?
Have any great examples? Share them here: