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Blog Posts


Fundraising Lessons From Slimy Internet Marketers

They over-promise. They exaggerate. They don’t reveal pivotal tactics. And you would never hire a baseball-cap-wielding charlatan like Miles.

But they kept cropping up in my Suggested Videos on YouTube. So instead of continuing to scroll past them with this little element of doubt lingering, I decided to investigate these lads.

I took the attitude that there must be something they’re doing that is worth knowing, so I watched videos like:

  • From Facebook Ads Beginner to EXPERT in One Video!
  • How I Made $500 On a $5.00 Facebook Ad
  • How I Make $20,000 A Day With Facebook Ads (High End Facebook Guide)

It wasn’t easy to sit through. Many of the tactics that they are forcing themselves to get visibly excited about are run-of-the-mill.

But there was one recurring theme that intrigued me. As a group, they were obsessed with automation. And I don’t mean email automation or retention processes. I mean automating as many stages of their approach to acquiring new customers as they possibly could. Possibly out of laziness.

An example of this would be website retargeting. They’d do loads of testing and experimenting to find out what series of ads gets a decent percentage of website visitors to buy. Once they found something that worked, they’d just leave it running.

Then your only job is to get people to the website.

Now, we’re all aware of retargeting. I’m sure you’ve seen the excellent ROI that the retargeting element of a campaign will generate, but there was something different about their approach. And it took me a while to figure out what it was. It wasn’t a tactic, it was more strategic than that. They had a different mindset.

The phrase that unlocked this for me was,

“Then your only job is to…”

Like, when do you ever hear a marketer or fundraiser say that?!

There’s always a multitude of tasks on the to-do list.

And aside from the fact that these slimeballs have time on their hands, which makes it easier to focus on things like testing, they were also free from any existing campaigns or internal requirements of an organisation. They weren’t burdened by calendars. They didn’t have anything to keep in mind. Nothing “big” that was coming up next month. There was no status quo.

These lazy, shortcut merchants were free.

And that freedom allowed them to be surprisingly empathetic. It allowed them to see the world from the audience’s point-of-view, not their bosses point-of-view.

They just wanted to:


  • Find the (objectively) best headlines and images
  • Turn those into an automated journey
  • Go in search of the best audiences

That’s what marketing was to them.

If they came into your charity today to help with your digital fundraising, they wouldn’t give a sh*t about your segmentation or the campaigns you have planned. They’d just sift through your results in search of content that has already got people clicking, so they could assemble a journey that converts.

The automation is key. Facebook themselves have said that on average most people convert on their third visit to your website. So you need to hook their attention three times, not once.

Once this journey was working well, they’d go prospecting new audiences. It’s pure digital acquisition, without the organisational baggage.

I do something similar.

And I think you should YouTube some of the internet marketers above and look at the world from their perspective.


If you found this interesting and want a broader, more comprehensive view of digital fundraising, then download this eBook: 



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