Month: June 2010

  • Don’t hide your fundraising call to action

    When you’re raising funds, you always have a call to action. And that is always give. That’s where confusion often crops up. You see a lot of fundraising that have calls to action like these: Think well of us. It’s good if they do think well of you, but that’s not the point. Learn this…

  • You have two seconds

    Here’s something scary from the Litmus Blog, reporting on a large set of data looking at what happens to sent emails: New Email Metrics: Two seconds to make an impression: On average, 51.1% of readers spend less than 2 seconds looking at your email. That’s 51.1% of those who opened your email. Inside of two…

  • The Lady Gaga lesson

    Just off hand, I’d say there’s nobody and nothing farther off my personal radar than Lady Gaga. But I’ll take a fundraising lessen where I can get it, like this one from Oneicity: What Lady Gaga can teach you about fundraising. How should direct mail fundraising be like Ms. Gaga? Lady Gaga stands out in…

  • Photos that hurt your fundraising

    Most fundraising experts doggedly point out that photos of people are absolutely critical for successful fundraising messages. They’re half right. A great photo makes all the difference. It can crystallize a message and drive home its emotional core more powerfully memorably than words can. But the wrong photo can shoot your message down, making the…

  • One secret to writing like a normal person

    Here’s great advice from Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That!: Everything you need to know about being an AMAZING writer: Never write a word you wouldn’t say out loud. Say what you want to say out loud to a friend. Say it a few times until it’s awesome. Then type it up. That’s it.…

  • What makes fundraising fail

    Crappy, failing fundraising copy is often the way it is because somebody liked that way. Not that someone wanted it to be crappy, but they wanted certain characteristics — usually things like a professional tone, a dignified, non-urgent approach, maybe a side goal of lecturing the reader into a better understanding of the cause. Successful…

  • Are all marketing people complete idiots?

    The advertising world briefly united in howls of laughter a couple weeks ago when two marketing and sales VPs at General Motors came up with the brain-wave of forbidding the word “Chevy” when talking about Chevrolets. (Read about it here in the New York Times.) First, as a 61% shareholder in GM, I want those…

  • The Curse of Too Much Mail

    Here’s my column in this month’s FundRaising Success magazine, The Curse of Too Much Mail. Teaser: If you accept the premise that your fundraising is annoying, painful, stupid and unwelcome — you will make it so. It’s a classic self-fulfilling prophecy, the not-so-well-kept secret of creative work: Your attitude bleeds through onto the paper.

  • Repetition, repetition, repetition: it’s how fundraising works

    You don’t have a captive audience. If you assume readers start at the beginning and read straight through to the end, picking up the thread of your argument as it builds, point by well-constructed point, you’re going to write the copy all wrong. People just don’t read your stuff that way. Your readers skip around,…