Jeff Brooks at Donor Power Blog is looking for posts on what’s good or bad about fundraising for next week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants. Here’s what’s bad about fundraising from my perspective as a nonprofit marketing and communications consultant.
These are the three reasons that I nearly always turn down requests to write grant applications and direct appeal letters (although I gladly do supporting materials like case statements and donor newsletters).
1) Nonprofits blame you, the grant writer, if they don’t get the funding, even if their project is really weak or they are applying to the wrong funding source. Even a beautifully written grant application can’t turn a lousy project into a winner, nor can it convince a project officer to fund you if the project is outside her area of interest.
2) It’s boring. I find writing grant applications, especially those for government agency grants, really boring. You usually have to follow a specific format and play to certain buzzwords and criteria, which can force you to talk about the project in unnatural ways, while also draining the really interesting points and creative storytelling out of the package.
3) I don’t want to keep up with the latest and greatest in direct mail marketing. With all the various metrics out there for direct mail these days, and the mix of art and science that direct mail marketing has become, it’s now a really specialized segment of the field, and it’s not one I’m interested in keeping up with. Maybe this is just a perception perpetuated by fundraising consultants who don’t want to share clients with those of us who focus more on general communications and marketing, but it’s working on me.
I’m sure there are people who love, love, love writing direct appeal copy and grant applications, but I’m not one of them. If you are, tell me what I’m missing by leaving a comment.