Are you committing this taboo with your appeals?

Don’t think of your donors as ATMs!

Everything Case (for Support)

Every six weeks or so I get a nasty piece of mail, my visa bill. I don’t like it. Who does? But if the charges on the bill are mine, then they are mine. If my neighbour asked me to pay his visa bill, I’d shake my head in disbelief. I didn’t ring up his charges.

Direct mail appeal

Yet, ‘pay our visa bill’ is a common undertone in direct-mail, fundraising appeals. I received such an appeal recently. A foundation had made a commitment to fund X, Y and Z and would I kindly make a gift toward the project. They have committed. I am asked to pick up the bill. The idea of positioning the donor as a bank bothers me, both as a donor and as a communicator.

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About Scott Cargle

Scott is a nonprofit consultant, specializing in fundraising, business development and grant writing for arts and education organizations. He has worked with dozens of arts, education and community organizations in Los Angeles and New York. He has raised funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Times Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, NY State Council of the Arts, LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, LA County Arts Commission, Jewish Community Foundation, and many others. From 1993-2006, was the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Project, which presented large-scale outdoor productions, free in parks all over New York City. Over a 12-year period, he grew the budget from $800 to $400,000, with nearly 95% coming from unearned revenue. Scott has served on grant-making panels, including LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Times Foundation, NY Foundation for the Arts, Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY, and CEC International. He was also honored to serve on the board of directors for the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY from 2003 -2005. He currently serves on the board of Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble.
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