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It's not "crying wolf" if you are direct and transparent with donors



Guest post by Dr. Hugh R. Mathis


Remember “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in Aesop’s Fables? The story is of a young shepherd who continually raises false alarms about wolves eating his sheep. When the disaster finally occurs, the villagers don’t believe him.

When is it ever right in fundraising to “cry wolf” with donors? Most would say never.

I would suggest that in times such as these a direct approach is warranted. Don’t second guess yourself wondering whether or not you’re “crying wolf.” Let the donor know exactly what is needed and why. This action empowers them (the donor) to see a direct effect from their gift.

Keeping the doors of not-for-profits that provide services to the needy open in order to serve others is imperative. Tell your organization’s donors the costs to remain open and viable at this moment and the impact it will have on the people you serve. Be specific and they will likely assist.

During these difficult and different times, direct approaches are needed to ensure your ability to serve people in need!


Dr. Hugh R. Mathis has 34 years of experience in not-for-profit development/fundraising. He and his team raised more than $50 million for various institutions but mostly for The Salvation Army North and South Carolina Division. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and Leadership from The Union Institute University. Hugh has been a constant friend and mentor to Derek Alley, Co-founder & President of Arthur Alley.

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