“The more effective the fundraising campaign, the more complaints it will generate.”
Brook’s 5th Law of Fundraising
Or, put another way …
“The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important.”
Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and marketing genius. His blog, which is the only one I read everyday, is perhaps the world’s most popular written by an individual.
The following is an example of Seth’s wisdom, which I find not only relevant in regard to the many presentations I facilitate for the donors of the charities with whom I work, but at just about anytime I’m dealing with a large group of people.
“If you’re hyper-aware of what others are thinking, if you’re looking for criticism, the unhappy audience member and the guy who didn’t get the joke, you will always find what you’re seeking. For it to be any other way, you’d either have to be invisible or performing for a totally homogeneous audience. Unanimity is impossible … invisible is an option, of course. You can lay low, not speak up and make no difference to anyone. That’s sort of like dividing by zero, though. You’ll get no criticism, but no delight either. As for finding a homogeneous audience, good luck with that. The one thing that’s true of all people is that they are different from one another. What delights one enrages the other. Part of the deal.
Complaints are a good thing. Complaints indicate emotion. They show that your reader cares enough to voice his or her views. Few or no complaints usually mean you haven’t tried hard enough, haven’t pushed your reader’s comfort zones, and likely haven’t got your message across. Lots of complaints mean that your donors really care about your cause, that you have got through to them and pulled on their emotions. You’ll generally notice a direct link between lots of noise and grievance and the volume of income raised. The key of course is managing complaints properly, and responding promptly and fully to answer your donor’s concerns. There will always be a surplus of people eager to criticize, nitpick or recommend caution. Your job, at least right now, is to reinforce the power of the yes. Unanimity is impossible unless you are willing to be invisible.”