Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Never Ending Ask

Now more than ever, even the smallest amounts help, your tax-deductible donation will ensure that you will get email from now until eternity. Both personally and on behalf of the entire organization, I thank you for reading and then deleting our message without making a donation.

My Non-profit friends,

Tis’ the season of the never ending ask. I know, you got to pay the bills. I know that the economy has hurt you.

The reality of the situation is you are better off not showering your limited donor pool with a million emails (and in some cases a hard copy letter) asking for money. Most people make their donations at the end of the year to help out with taxes and the like. But that doesn’t mean most of us don’t have a pretty good idea where we want to make our donations.

I received a message the day after I made a not huge but still not small donation to one particular organization asking me for money. I also got two copies of the exact same ask from another org sent from different people; they used a different email html frame so we wouldn’t notice…I noticed.

To paraphrase the Oscar award winning song:
You know it is hard out here for a non-profit.
When it tryin to get this money for the rent.
For the computers and the electric bill
Because you will have a whole lot of board members talkin about downsizing
Will have a whole lot of board members talkin downsizing…

There is no question that non-profits, especially larger ones with limited relevance in our current world, had a really bad year. With the Dow nose diving, particular individuals running particular “investment vehicles” that turned out not to be anything at all and corporations closing up their charitable checkbooks, it was far from a banner year.

But please stop with all the emails. Pay attention to who is sending you money especially if you say any amount will help, prove it and stop sending further solicitations to those who have supported the cause. Also don’t make the “we are understaffed and over worked” excuse. I know how hard you work. I also know that shot gun blast emails are lazy and can be better targeted with limited work.

I hope you do meet your fundraising goals as well as your organizational ones.

A happy New Year to you all,


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