Urban Dictionary defines a “Yes Man” as “‘a person who agrees to every opportunity they come across, no matter how crazy it may seem and they do not weigh the consequences.”

I bet you know a fundraiser who fits this description. For development folks, it can be hard to pass up an opportunity, especially when we look at those financial statements every month. After all, our job is basically to raise as much money as possible. But perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned  over the past four years is that oftentimes you need to do less to raise more. Doing a handful of projects really well will usually result in more money and better relationships (not to mention a less stressed you) than a lot of thrown together endeavors.In my experience, it is wise to say NO to the following things:

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Well played, UNICEF!

The smaller text is:

Tellin' it like it is.

Tellin’ it like it is.

“We have nothing against likes, but vaccines cost money. Please buy polio vaccines at  It will only cost you 4 E, but will save the lives of 12 children.”

I understand why some folks feel that this overlooks the value of social media.  But I really respect this Unicef Sweden campaign for telling donors exactly what the need is.  In development, we are simultaneously tasked with increasing visibility and raising more funding. Of course one of those two will ideally lead to the other, but I believe that it is very important to always remember your objective. In this event, this brochure, or this campaign, what is the primary goal?  The brilliance of this ad, is that they will likely get donations AND likes, so a primary goal shouldn’t forsake all others.

We are also often told that we shouldn’t ask for donations too bluntly. This ad shows that with the right audience, a straightforward request may be the best way to get the job done.


UPDATE – This article tells you a little more about the campaign, which includes three commercials.  Although some friends are disagreeing with me on this one,  I do think it is really important for supporters to take a step back and realize that online activism doesn’t actually put food on a table or books in a classroom.