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Forgetting Is Like Starting Over

When it comes to fundraising, what does your organization remember?

  • Do they remember why that campaign three years ago worked or didn’t?

  • Do they remember what your donors have said about you in various settings or polls/surveys you’ve conducted?

  • What have you learned from your online or direct mail testing?

The point is non-profits are notoriously bad when it comes to building and making use of what they’ve learned. There are many reasons for this, among them being that they’re too busy to capture or think about critical information, inadequate databases or lacking in the expertise to use them, not knowing the right questions to ask, staff turnover, the constant call to try “new” things, and worst of all—the attitude that if it didn’t happen while I was in charge, it’s not my fault.

Take the time now and test what you’ve learned. Write down 5-10 lessons you’ve learned over the past couple of years…lessons that you’re still trying to do something about.

If you don’t learn from the past and the mistakes you’ve made, you’re doomed to repeat them. I didn’t make that up, but I’m at least smart enough to understand the wisdom behind those words.

What about you? Are you repeating mistakes that you’ve made in the past because you’re too busy to change? If so, maybe you didn’t get the memo: Today, change is the name of the game!

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