6 Ways To Be More Self-Critical

Fundraisers have to get and hold the attention of potential donors, and that is easier said than done. It takes more than an enticing word or slick visual.

In his book “The Zen of Fundraising,” marketing legend Ken Burnett maintained that nonprofits be acutely aware of the communications they send to potential donors, in terms of both content and presentation. He urges fundraisers to be more self-critical of what they produce so they send only creative and effective communications. This includes saving money by not sending inappropriate and poorly constructed material.

Burnett offered the following advice to get the best possible results out of donor solicitations:

  • Constantly measure donors’ interest in and reactions to what they receive from you. Learn from this.
  • Ask yourself whether or not your donors actually read what you send them.
  • Never be dull, bland or unmoving. Communicate with passion. Nonprofits have the best stories in the world to tell, and the best reasons for telling them.
  • Invest in good pictures and in people who can write compellingly, with power and passion.
  • Design for readability, understanding that there is a big difference between presentations in print (where even the right typeface can matter) and those in electronic format.
  • Send less but better. Make sure what goes to donors is only the truly excellent.

Getting a donor prospect’s attention with all of today’s distractions is a challenge. Refreshing the donor’s appreciation of your mission also is difficult. The key is to not get comfortable.