Month: September 2012

  • Stupid metaphor equates education with being thrown from an airplane

    If a friendly and engaging stranger offered you a gift that you knew to be very expensive, but had absolutely no value or utility for you, would you accept the gift? Would your attitude change if you learned that the stranger had a lot more to gain from giving you the useless gift than you…

  • Why your fundraising didn’t work

    Doing a post-mortem on a failed direct-response fundraising campaign? Check this post at Karen Zapp’s Nonprofit Blog: Top 10 Reasons Why a Fundraising Campaign Flops. Copy isn’t reader-centric Poor list (you aren’t being smart about whom you’re asking) Too many editors change the copy until it becomes a weak mush. Single channel effort – didn’t…

  • What the FOAC is wrong with my response rates?

    by guest blogger Lisa Sargent, fundraising copywriter, donor communications specialist, and rabid defender of direct mail. Before you shoot your copywriter because he or she hasn’t been the creative cash cow you hoped, I strongly suggest you consider this acronym for direct mail success — in order of priority, according to website SOFII … FOAC:…

  • What’s in new book on fundraising

    Here’s what’s in my new book, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money: The Importance of Being Urgent The secret ingredient that so many fundraisers omit. Make It Easy to Read Have your readers breezing happily through your copy. Long Messages Work Better It’s true. And your boss is…

  • What Clinton’s on-the-fly speech revisions teach us

    If you saw President Bill Clinton’s rousing speech during the Democratic National Convention last week, you know you were witnessing a skilled communicator at work. What was less obvious is how much the speech he delivered was different from the prepared text that was presumably being displayed on his teleprompter — and how much stronger…

  • Beware of graffiti fundraising

    Why are most graffiti illegible? Actually, they aren’t — to their primary audience. That audience is not you. You have nothing to do with the message. Graffiti are about the people who write them. It’s a proclamation: I was here. You and I don’t care that this particular young vandal was there. And Young Vandal…

  • How not to waste money on event donors

    If you do fundraising events, such as walks or runs — where you have participants who get their own sponsors — there are two common mistakes to avoid once the event is over: Ignoring those event donors. As if none of them have any interest in your cause, and none will ever give to you…

  • How to stop killing your fundraising

    The Agitator suggests Nonsense Audits to help nonprofits get rid of pointless and harmful activities, at Down With Fundraising Nonsense. One of the things they take aim at: … the number of folks who must see, sign-off or otherwise be involved in the creation and approval process of appeals and other donor communications. Add in…

  • An oddball way to turn your web names into web donors

    You’ve probably heard of the old salesman’s tactic of asking you to do him a small favor. That predisposes you to like him, trust him, and do more for him. It’s a proven quirk of human psychology that once we help someone, we’re more likely to want to help them again. Some new research, reported…

  • New book will help you be a better fundraiser

    From time to time, someone asks me, What do I need to know to effectively raise funds? I generally stammer out something that I hope will be helpful — something like Make it all about your donors or Don’t forget to ask. Of course, one-sentence advice won’t take you very far. But being asked the…