Upgrade or Downgrade

Upgrade or Downgrade?

Worthy nonprofits are in the business of doing good. Transforming their community. This is a noble and often overwhelming task.

The sense of so much need out there often creeps into the mindset of nonprofit leaders when they reach out to their supporters—their donor investors.

These leaders want to get as many people to give as possible. That’s good. As far as it goes.

You see growing your fundraising program is more about getting the right donors to be in your fold rather than just any donors.


Worthy nonprofits often devalue themselves in the minds of their potential supporters. That’s right.

They do so by asking too little and promising too much—too anyone and everyone.   I’m not talking about asking a million from someone who can give a hundred.

I’m referring to those appeals that focus on getting any gift—as in “give us something before we drown, please.”

People who are generous do so because they want to see changed communities, an upgrade, so to speak. They really do.

Principle 1 of The Eight Principles is Donors are the Drivers. Generous people drive philanthropy through their visions for a better world.

These folks know that “better” and “best” aren’t achieved through the deep discount.

The unique fundraising idea is to seek the upgrade, not the downgrade. Tell it to them straight.

Sure, you’ll lose the interest of those who want to merely feel as though they’re doing good rather than actually making a difference.

That’s OK. You only want the people who are serious. There are more than enough of these well-motivated individuals to make the difference.

Now there’s a unique fundraising idea.

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