Tools—Dumb and Dumber

Like the film, Dumb and Dumber, what passes for wisdom in some circles defies logic.

You and I live in the age of tech.  Almost a week doesn’t pass without a new tech tool being introduced that promises to solve a (seemingly) heretofore unsolvable problem.

True, technological innovation has helped humanity make many advances.

However, these innovations are mere tools.  They’re effectiveness lies in the understanding and wisdom of the user. 

Tools—tech or otherwise—are only as effective as the nuance and understanding of the individual using them.

Thus, it has always been.

Pencil and paper.

Can produce a Nobel Prize winning novel or a page of unintelligible gibberish.

A formula-one race car. Wins one race.  Loses another.  Same car.

The difference—it’s all in the user.

The practice of fundraising is no different.

Sophisticated CRM’s, search screens, giving algorithms, donor predictors—the list never seems to end. Conference after conference herald the end of fundraising pain through technology.

The latest of these tools now make claims of knowing exactly whom to ask for what, and when.

They’re no longer tools but “solutions”.  Think I’m kidding?  Just the read the marketing copy or listen to the words used by the next peddler of these wares who darkens your door.

Claims such as these are nothing more than smooth lies—or half-truths at best.

The most recent of the new “wonder tools”, AI, with all the claims attached to it is actually nothing more than a cobbled together series of statistical guesses.

And, as we’ve seen recently, some of these guesses can be way off base. With outlandish, embarrassing results resulting in serious financial damage.

Beware what you put your confidence in. 

Remember the cautionary tale of the Monkey’s Paw. When you delegate decisions to a reflexive, literal tool you can easily find yourself in a spot far, far worse than your current situation and challenges.

Some of this stuff can actually cost you your life.

So, here’s the REAL question:  If these tools have such power why have we not seen any noticeable improvement in fundraising outcomes?

Instead, we continue to see the same abysmal investor retention rates year after year.

We keep hearing about the “missing middle” in giving. (Which is not so much “missing” as it is “unengaged.”)

Fundraising positions and board membership seats have become revolving doors.

And although the total given from year to year continues to rise, it does so with “mega gifts” that are not repeatable long-term.

You see these data, confirmed over and over, in the Giving USA almanac.

The bottom line is this: Tools are only as good as the skill and insight of the user.  And I don’t mean the geek skill of knowing how to manipulate the levers and buttons.

The mediocre outcomes we see so much are not the fault of the tools, per se. It’s the lack of understanding of the user.

What’s needed is a new paradigm of operation.  A reset. A realignment of ideas and approaches.

Approaches based in mutual bi-lateral relationships between investors and the organizations in which they invest. This is The Eight Principles Way.

With our approach your outcomes are dramatically different. Independent research across all types and sizes of nonprofit organizations shows dramatic improvements in sustained revenue.

Which would you rather do?

Continue down your current path of chasing one-off mega gifts as you waste operational revenue on tools that aren’t delivering.  All the while holding your breath until the next one.


Realigning your mindset with The Eight Principles and enjoying results which speak for themselves.

There is a WAY OUT of this race to the bottom.

Before filling your tool chest, first create organizational understanding and alignment.  Then choose your tools.  You’ll most likely need fewer than you think.

Relax.  There’s no need to dump wholesale what you’re currently doing.  Let us help you get the most out of the tools you’re currently using. Arrange a time to talk with us now.

Here at The Eight Principles, our job is to provide you and your entire organization with the underlying understanding so the tools you choose will provide the maximum leverage possible.

Then you achieve the lasting results that power your mission forward.

Have a story you’d like to share regarding fundraising tools and their use?  Let me hear from you.

** (Photo credit: New Line Cinema, Movieweb.com)