Month: July 2012

  • Who’s wrecking your fundraising?

    I’ve noticed that on nearly every fundraising direct mail copy-approval committee there’s at least one person who thinks direct mail is stupid, lame, annoying. That person makes it his mission to single-handedly reform the conventions of direct mail. That is to say, to completely ruin the direct mail at hand. Why do we listen to…

  • Thank you letters that make donors happy they gave

    Too often, the thank-you messages we send to donors are just bad. Talisman Thinking Out Loud captures some of that badness and how it might feel for the donor at From a Donor Regarding Your Thank You Letters: Every letter I receive is the same — same letter, same content, same typos, same electronic signature.…

  • Stupid nonprofit ads deserve to die

    Some causes are harder to raise funds for than others. One of the toughest assignments is raising funds to help people who are perceived to have got themselves into their problem in the first place. Lung cancer is in that category. Because of decades of successful anti-smoking marketing, everyone knows about the correlation between smoking…

  • How to stop the an out-of-control fundraising approval process

    Here’s a tale of horror from the BlueFrog Creative blog: Is your approvals process killing your appeals? Seems they have a client that gets the opinions of 35 reviewers on copy for fundraising messages. Yes, 35! That’s guaranteed mediocrity for the organization. (Actually, it’s more like guaranteed insanity.) As BlueFrog noted: The fundraising department’s prime…

  • Bragging is not fundraising

    Here’s the back of a 6″ x 9″ envelope from Uncle Maynard’s Treasure Trove of Direct Mail Knowledge: I’ve no reason to doubt that this is a good expression of what this Christian teaching ministry does. But as far as fundraising goes, it misses the point entirely. It’s a common fundraising mistake. The strategy seems…

  • How to brand a nonprofit

    Good post by Geoff Livingston on Only One Kind of Branding Matters: Only one kind of branding matters, and that’s the customer experience…. You can manufacture as much messaging as you want, but if your brand promise doesn’t meet the customer experience then your efforts will fail. Fast. That’s why so much nonprofit branding is…

  • When fundraising writing is too good

    Occasionally you’ll see fundraising copy that reads something like this: The rain slashed down like needles as the evening darkness spread, bring the fear of night to the huddled inhabitants of the homeless camp under the roaring traffic of the freeway. That’s (arguably) strong writing; at any rate, it’s detailed and sensory. But would you…

  • When less is more and more is less in email fundraising

    Here’s an interesting test from the Which Test Won blog. For a travel industry e-newsletter, the test compared sending shorter, more frequent newsletters to longer less frequent ones. The total amount of content was roughly the same either way. The less-content, more-frequency version got lower open and click rates, but much higher multiple opens and…

  • The envelope makes no sense — but it doesn’t have to

    From Uncle Maynard’s Treasure Trove of Direct Mail Knowledge: This is the only image on the front of an envelope (shown about twice actual size). It partly overlaps the window. The organization’s name and address are on the flap. A lot of people looking at this will say it’s the most stupid thing they’ve ever…

  • Fundraising from donors who just aren’t that much into you

    Some of the coolest donor-cultivation ideas I’ve seen have gone nowhere, and I think I know why: They were built on the assumption that donors were as into us as we are into ourselves. Inspiring Generosity blog looks at that issue at When Building Donor Relationships, Talk is Cheap, with one of the big myths…