Month: December 2009

  • Make sure donors can reply to your emails

    Who’s the sender of your emails to donors? If it’s nobody, and can’t be replied to, you’re making a mistake, says Email Insider at Email’s Antisocial Sin: Seeing “no-reply@” in the “from” address raises an immediate red flag. It telegraphs that the email is a one-way street…. the “from” address communicates, “This message is about…

  • Almost everything I know about fundraising I learned from Christmas carols

    Angels We Have Heard on High Excellent fundraisers are like angels singing out their wonderful news for the world to hear. They sing it sweetly and with gusto, because they know they’re changing the world. The other kind of fundraisers — the ones who mutter their message under their breath because they’re embarrassed to ask…

  • Fundraising in the Age of Cynicism

    Here’s my column in this month’s FundRaising Success magazine, Fundraising in the Age of Cynicism. Teaser: If you must have disclaimers, write them in plain English, not in the obfuscatory jargon of lawyers. Legal-speak is inherently hostile and feels untrustworthy. Don’t cover your butt at the cost of coming across as evil.

  • The solution to dysfunctional annual report nightmares

    Nonprofit annual reports are often a nightmarish project that costs a lot, creates conflict in the organization, and accomplishes little. I don’t have any inside information on how it went this year at the Pride Foundation, but I bet it went better than the typical nonprofit annual report debacle. Because they instead did a “Gratitude…

  • Fundraisers who don’t give don’t get it

    Good point from Seth Godin at Watch the money. … if you work for a non-profit and you don’t give money to charity, what exactly are you doing in this job? I’ve met some incredibly generous people in the charitable world, but I can also report that a huge number of people — even on…

  • Online giving going mainstream?

    Network for Good, the online donation and communication service for nonprofits, recently passed the milestone of $300 million in total cumulative online donations. (And they’re moving along at a clip of $326,880 in online donations a day.) As noted in Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing blog, at Online giving: A lively spot in the lackluster economy, nonprofits…

  • Five hints for better fundraising

    Here are five things that will help make your fundraising message from the For Impact blog, at What’s In A Message?: Be simple and don’t make me work to UNDERSTAND why your program is awesome. Repetition. Conviction. Show — don’t tell. Start with ME — not you. That last one? If you do nothing else,…

  • How made-up stories about donors confuse us

    Through the years, I’ve noticed something odd we fundraisers do: When we look at the results of a direct marketing campaign, we often make up narratives about our donors to help explain what happened. Like this: We change the color of the teaser on the envelope from blue to red. The appeal performs worse than…

  • Two fundraising errors mar Thanksgiving email

    From Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, a pointed critique of an email sent by CARE: Death, dying … and oh, happy thanksgiving. The email, sent shortly before Thanksgiving, had this subject line: 25,000 people will die this Thanksgiving. The message goes on in that vein. To uncharitably paraphrase: While you’re stuffing your face with friends and…

  • More about fundraising in 2020

    Here’s a question that’s been making the rounds: How will donors be different in 2020 and how will they be the same? I have some ideas: In 2020, the oldest Baby Boomers will be turning 74. For most organizations, this means Boomers will start dominating the file. But the older generation will still be well…