Memorial Day afternoon, I received a fundraising call from a Marketing firm for an organization I support.

This is a local organization where I know many of the employees and volunteers. And I got a call from a marketing firm…

As my teeth clenched and hands curled into fists I calmly replied that I would not be donating at this time. This call made me very angry, as a donor and a nonprofit consultant. Here’s why:

  1. Use personal connections when you have them: You don’t send a stranger to ask for money, you send someone who knows the donor. It’s a phone call or a coffee, not a huge investment, and will pay off dividends. I’d have had a much harder time saying no to a friend or colleague.
  2. It’s about relationships, not money: Fundraising isn’t about the donations, it’s about the relationships you build. Whether a donor is giving $500 or $5000 depends on more than capacity, it depends on how connected they are to your cause and mission. Using a marketing firm to solicit donations tells the donor they don’t matter and the organization isn’t interested in connecting with you.
  3. Donor’s don’t like their dollars used for marketing firms: Agree or disagree, most donors don’t support extensive fundraising and other operational expenses. While nonprofits do need to invest in their fundraising, using a firm to call donors isn’t the best way to do it.
  4. Did I mention it was Memorial Day??! If you aren’t showing any consideration or respect for your donor’s time… don’t expect a dime.

Save your money and ask your board, volunteers, and staff to make these calls. It look better, feels better, and shows that your organization cares about it donors. And one more thing — don’t call on a holiday!!!