Book Review: Jeff Brooks’ The Money Raising Nonprofit Brand

Book Review: Jeff Brooks’ The Money Raising Nonprofit Brand

Jeff Brooks has developed into one of the icons of modern fundraising. His blogs (first Donor Power and currently The Future of Fundraising Now) and his podcast (Fundraising is Beautiful with Steven Screen) are some of the most consumed resources in the nonprofit space. Brooks now has synthesized his years of experience into a wonderfully written book titled: The Money Raising Nonprofit Brand. Branding is a dirty word in the nonprofit space and Brooks entertainingly explains why. Techniques that work so powerfully in commercial advertising don’t fit for nonprofits. Brooks gives example after example of nonprofit re-branding gone bad. And why. The Money Raising Nonprofit Brand should be required reading for anyone who works with nonprofit organizations. That includes leadership, board members, volunteers, fundraisers and their agencies. It’s a concise easy to read book packed with insights and ready to use ideas. If I had any bone to pick with the book (and I wouldn’t be a good analyst if I didn’t ) is that I think he is too quick to discount the benefit of research. Just like in branding wrongly employed research approaches can yield more harm than benefit. But research methods that understand the nuances of nonprofit fundraising realities can accelerate an organization’s success. Still, do your organization a favor and pass this book out to your staff. And most importantly, to your Branding...
The Age of Super-Cynical Donors

The Age of Super-Cynical Donors

We just conducted a night of focus groups for a nonprofit organization that is fighting a chronic disease. In one of the exercises, we had the first group, which consisted of the organization’s donors, write letters to the later prospective donor group to encourage them to support the fight against the disease with a donation. The letters from the donors were heartfelt and moving. We in the back room were moved to tears as donors shared their stories of how the disease had affected their lives. But when the prospective donors heard these heartfelt letters, they ripped them apart. Their cynicism of the letters was dumbfounding. It was truly a case of the message being lost in translation. It’s clear to me that the long term affect of urgent and emotional appeals for funds have desensitized donors to mass communications. I can’t help but think that if these prospective donors could have been behind the glass during the first group their reactions would have been 180 degrees different. Which leads me to believe that the “next big thing” in fundraising will be going back to Fundraising 1.0: Face-to-face fundraising. It’s the only way to break through the cynicism of this generation. And that I believe that means leveraging crowd sourcing/peer-to-peer fundraising technologies to replicate the personal ask. Personal asks aren’t just for major donors anymore. It’s for all...