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please dont ask me to consider making a gift

February 2, 2015

Dear Fundraiser

Thank you so much for your letter, but I won’t be making a gift. That is to say I almost did – Your letter was nearly perfect

From the first paragraph you engaged me with your story, you reeled me in with your description of how you felt – and you unpacked a need, a opportunity, and described the dire consequences of the calamity what would happen if I didn’t make a gift.

I was hooked, my hand was reaching for the cheque book. All you had to do was tell me how much you needed and it would be yours…

But then, with a stupid and completely unnecessary word the moment passed. Up till that point I was what you like to call an `engaged` donor. I was yours – my heart was completely given to the cause – there may even have been a tear in the corner of my eye…

But then you asked me to “consider” giving a donation towards your noble cause – and if I am honest my brain flipped. I switched from the emotional to the rational and the moment was gone.

I don’t ever “consider” making a gift – I consider things like mortgages, pensions, insurance – all the boring stuff, I consider the fine print, the pros and cons. The consider part of my brain tells me I have not serviced the car and the boiler is likely to break down!

What is worse is that when I consider it takes time. We understand this, that is why we say consider – not think. So if you are asking me to consider making a gift -then the need cannot be quite so urgent. I am sure I will consider your request – maybe later, when I am rich…

What I need you to do, is to present a clear and urgent need – through telling a story -which is after all what you are so very good at. And allow me to respond with my heart. That’s all!


a frustrated donor


PS. The one place you can, and should, use the word “consider” is when you are writing to a charitable trust. Because that is exactly what you want them to do.

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