Fundraising Faux Pas

I almost succumbed to the "If I Mail It, They Will Give" fundraising faux pas!

We sent about 100 letters to donors telling them about an incredible matching opportunity we have. A donor is matching every new endowed fund with $2500.

So far, we have secured 11 of the 48 available matches. That is an incredible direct mail response rate. But we want to secure more!

The letter specifically promised that the recipient would get a phone call. And some have.

But this a.m., rather than just hitting the phone, I was entertaining writing a great letter to follow up the first letter. I'd drafted the letter in my head and was starting to work on the mailing list.

And then it hit me, I was falling for a big fundraising mistake.

I owe it to everyone to at least try to contact them by phone. That will be far more effective than simply sending another letter.

Phew. That was a near miss!

I'll make the calls today. Tomorrow I may send a letter. 😉

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to


  1. Hi Marc,

    Really enjoying your blog! I'm just getting caught up on some older posts like this one... thinking about all of the classic Dos and Don'ts of traditional fundraising, I wanted to point you to this post by Jason Dick: - which is about all the ways organizations approach "peer to peer" fundraising in entirely the wrong manner. I'm not sure this list is exhaustive, but it might be an interesting starting point for discussion among your readers.


What would you add?