chapter 37 Know What You Need to Know

I am not a fan of the phrase “arguably the biggest” to describe anything. If you have to modify your own statement with the notion that it is arguable, why make the claim? Yet I feel forced to use this statement to describe the magnitude of the change that has happened in fundraising concerning information. We need information about major donors: Where else do they give? What is their real capacity? What do we do that they might respond to? And we need other kinds of information: What is working in direct mail? What would make a corporation sponsor an event? How important is a good logo?

Today, we can find hundreds and sometimes thousands of pieces of information to answer these questions from our search engine. Then we have to decide which information we trust, which applies to us, has anything more recent happened, and so on. Filtering information, finding what we need, and not spending a lot of time with ideas and information we don’t need have become major challenges. It is easy to spend hours following one link to another, reading fundraising blogs and e-newsletters, participating in free or low-cost fundraising webinars, or doing prospect research. But successful fundraising means knowing what you need to know and putting together what you know so you can implement your fundraising plan: specifically, asking the right person at the right time for the right amount; scheduling the right event and inviting the people most likely to be ...

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