Paypal vs Integrated Donation form

3 Things That Seem Like Magic in Fundraising — But Aren’t

By: Jeff Brooks, Future Fundraising Now

There are three amazing things you can do in fundraising that are so powerful, you might think they’re magic.

Thing is, there’s nothing magic about them. Like everything else, even when you know the secret, you still have to do it right.

Here are those three amazing things, and how you can get the seeming magic boost from them …

#1 Stories

Stories hook directly into our brains. They are the best way to tell anything to anyone, and that’s especially true about fundraising. But just telling an amazing story doesn’t raise money.

For a story to act like magic, it needs to do these things:

  • Capture the donor’s attention.
  • Hold their attention by being interesting and relevant to them.
  • Take them somewhere they want to go — which in fundraising is to be about how their values can make the world a better place.

This means a story about how amazing your organization is, no matter how great that story is, has little or no magic. The magic story is one where the donor is the main actor, and the subject of the story is how she is going to do something great.

Fundraising Operation Smile
Photo: Operation Smile

#2 Photos

We know images can convey more information than words. The right photo can lift any fundraising message to higher levels of effectiveness. That’s why they seem like magic.

The problem with photos is they can do just as much harm as good to

#3 Saying thank you

You’ve seen the claims for how thanking donors can lead to big improvements in donor retention.


It happens when you thank them well…

When you thank promptly.
When you thank them for the same thing you asked them to do.
When you pour your emotions into the thanking.

About the Author: Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for nearly 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion.

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