Nothing made me happier than to hear the “f” word dropped with blatant disregard. While some may be offended; I relished in the moment, enjoyed the conversations and I’m hopeful about the future.

How did one word cause so many emotions?

That’s an easy question to answer. After years of fundraising, I’ve realized that we don’t have a fundraising problem. We know how to fundraise; we have tools to fundraise and year over year we push ourselves to raise more.

If fundraising isn’t our problem, than what’s the issue? Our challenge is marketing also a dreaded, dirty and scary word.  But like the “f” word we need to embrace the “m” word.  Marketing is amazing! Marketing educates supporters and drives interest in our cause.  So, why do we have a marketing problem and not a fundraising problem?

Why aren’t we raising money?

I often hear “why do we have so many zero dollar participants” another common question is “why is our participant fundraising average so low” – have you asked yourself these questions? I have. The answer is another easy one – we’re not communicating the right message.  We expect people to fundraise, but we’re not asking them to fundraise.  Why?

This post would be way to long if I listed all reasons, so let’s get to root cause.  As an industry we’re scared of the “f” word.  We don’t like to talk about the “f” word.  We don’t train staff to feel comfortable with the “f”. We’re scared we’ll lose people if we talk about the “f” word.  Our fear of the “f” word is holding us back.

Embrace the “f” word

Yesterday at the The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum (formerly the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference), we spent the afternoon talking about the “f” word and our aversion to it.  I’ m happy to report, that times are changing and we’re embracing the “f” word. But, don’t just take it from me.  Here’s what others are saying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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