Welcome to the Age of Authenticity

March 31, 2020

I’ve been reading a lot lately – about (what else?) the COVID-19 virus. A lot of the world’s most wise minds are calling this a watershed event – one that will change our world forever. This pandemic could well be for us what the Great Depression and World War 2 were for our grandparents. Put another way, this isn’t just a four-week storm we need to weather through until we can return to normal. Many of the people I respect most believe that things are changing now, that we won’t go back to ‘normal’ even when this pandemic subsides. What we think of as normal is about to change.

In my view, there is a very fundamental sea change going on in the way that we as fundraisers communicate with our donors. My fellow Good Workers and I have been talking for a while now about how important it is to be truthful, straightforward and non-boastful when we talk about our organizations and our work.


This pandemic has made this need for authenticity even stronger. When we’re fighting for survival, we don’t have time for exaggeration and boastfulness. We tune out self-serving words that sound like they’ve been written as ad copy.


Your donors still want to hear from you – and they want to hear your truth. How is your cause still relevant in these crisis times? How is your organization tackling your mission – and – how are you succeeding? What do you need from your supporters in order to continue to succeed in challenging times?


If your mission is blood transfusion and you’re short of blood donors, say so loud and clear. If you’re a women’s shelter and your turning away victims of violence for lack of funding, ask for help. If you’re a community hospital that needs to buy equipment to keep your workers safe, don’t be shy about asking for donations!

Shoot straight. Don’t spin. Your honesty and your relevance in these times will be rewarded. And good luck!


2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Age of Authenticity

  1. Fraser, I agree with you 100%. A new normal is not clear yet but one thing is clear the old normal has been dramatically altered.

    Even with social distancing people are taking stock of loved ones and friends – human kindness and love seems more authentic in our daily lives. People are stretching their imaginations and their bodies – this too, hopefully will have positive long term impact on individuals and society in general. I’m sure all of this will be researched for years to come – talk about lessons learned.

    I too, have been thinking about the impact on philanthropy and the shape of things to come. We are reminded by the true meaning of philanthropy (the gift of human kindness). Ask we must because all the rest is not on pause. No time for spin.

    1. That’s a very thoughtful response Dan – thank you. And you’re right – there’s always lots of space for human kindness so long as it’s genuine and selfless. I hope that you and yours are keeping safe and well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fraser Green

Fraser Green

Former political campaigner and current fundraising strategist with a knack for understanding how audiences will react to messages.