If you work on gun safety, you know about red flag laws, ghost guns, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the name of the person who runs that Bureau and the number of permitless carry bills pending in State legislatures — among thousands of other facts.

As a fundraiser, your job is to live and breathe the issues your organization works on.

Your donors don’t have that job and while they share your passion, they likely don’t follow your issue with the same level of detail.

At Sea Change, we’ve launched hundreds of donor perception surveys. Each time, we are reminded that donors — while passionate and committed — are less nuanced when it comes to the breadth and depth of the work non profits they support do.*

One donor recently told us, “I think you are getting too deep in the weeds. We support ‘organization x’ because they help ‘insert beneficiary here.’ Let’s keep it simple.”

Our job as fundraisers is to translate complex details into a cohesive,  compelling and bitesize narrative that donors care about.

Think of an iceberg.


If your organization was an iceberg, the small tip above the water line is the part that donors care about. Everything else your organization does — which is A LOT — can and should hide under the water.

It doesn’t mean those things aren’t important. They are just NOT what donors are tracking closely.

What core messages are above your water line? The rest is just the real devil in the details.

*We’ve only experienced one or two exceptions and this is typically with a donor audience that also volunteers.