Month: January 2012

  • How fundraisers are getting it right in the mail

    Here’s another fascinating post from the Joy of Direct Marketing blog: B2C Direct Mail: Learning from charities. It looks at fundraising direct mail from a commercial DM perspective, and finds our stuff pretty darn good. (I noted a similar post from this same blog last month.) Here’s what they noted about fundraising mail: The mailings…

  • I have a dream too

    My dream is somewhat less elevated than Dr. King‘s. But here it is: That nonprofits everywhere will start taking donors seriously. That they’ll start paying attention to what donors actually respond to, not what they wish donors would respond to. That they’ll do fundraising built on exciting calls to action, not irrelevant, cooked-up “brands.” That…

  • How to thank your donors

    I have a feeling that some day, fundraisers are going to spend as much energy on thanking donors as we do now on asking them. We’re going to build up a knowledge of what works and doesn’t work, much the way we have for asking. Until that time, we have to rely on common sense.…

  • Hints galore on how to raise money with newsletters

    A practical history-of-fundraising lesson from Tom Ahern: The Domain Formula for donor newsletters: In the 1990s, a Seattle fundraising shop called the Domain Group took the garden-variety donor newsletter, stripped it down to its components, and began testing…. Domain eventually developed a formula that made a donor newsletter HIGHLY worth doing: some Domain clients began…

  • What’s wrong with the Next Big Thing?

    One of the most pointless and uninteresting things you can hear is that something is the Next Big thing in Fundraising. Anything that’s being bandied around as a “big thing” is not a big thing. Not yet, and probably not ever. You’ll know a thing is big when nobody’s calling it a big thing any…

  • Fundraising without asking is hardly fundraising at all

    When people are asked why they don’t give to charity, one of the most common answers is, I wasn’t asked to give. Asking is our job. And a recent study reported at the Neuromarketing blog shows how important asking is: Nine Words Nearly Double Results. The study compared Salvation Army red-kettle bell-ringing fundraisers who simply…

  • QR codes in fundraising and the mortality of kittens

    Here’s a quick, inspired talk about brain-dead uses of QR codes. The takeaway: Every time you use a QR code for something and don’t think it through, a kitten dies. (Or see it here on YouTube.) One other ill-considered use of QR codes he didn’t mention: When marketing to older people — i.e. fundraising. Show…

  • What do donors really want to do?

    One of the most important principles of fundraising is this: What people say about their charity has little to do with what they do. Once you believe that, you’ll stop taking terrible advice. But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s evidence from Nick Aldridge’s blog: Does actual giving behaviour match expressed giving preferences?…

  • How to write headlines

    Headlines are difficult. There are a lot of formulas that can help you write good ones, or at least avoid writing bad ones. Here’s a new formula for writing headlines, from the KISSmetrics blog: Can You Write a Better Headline Than This? Not Using Old Headline Formulas You Can’t. Here’s the formula: Specificity Helpfulness Immediacy…

  • Charity name-change usually leads to fundraising disaster

    The most self-destructive, revenue-killing act nonprofit organizations can make is one a lot of them are tempted to do: A name change. Typically, a name change hurts fundraising. Sometimes catastrophically. Cascade Land Conservancy, a venerable and much-liked environmental organization headquartered in Seattle, changed its name to Forterra. No, that is not a typo. Yes, it…