Month: November 2012

  • How to write when you can’t write

    If you write for a living, even if it’s a small part of your duties, you know how fickle the muse can be. And how little anyone else cares about that fickleness. In the end, a professional writer is someone who can meet deadlines and do good work even as inspiration and energy ebb and…

  • Is your fundraising full of itself?

    Another excellent cartoon from Marketoonist: six types of advertisements “Full of itself” is one of the main root causes of stupid nonprofit ads. Here’s the recipe: An abstract idea. Lots of pretention. A large production budget. Non-measurable goals. An agency or production house that really wants to in an award. You end up with pointless…

  • “Raising awareness” is one of the weakest fundraising offers around

    Most charities have “raising awareness” as part of their mission. Asking donors to help fund “raising awareness” is a quick trip to Noresponseville. If you’re an experienced fundraiser, that’s probably no surprise. But, just in case you needed proof, an academic study has that found people were far less willing to make donations to “raise…

  • How to focus your fundraising on donors

    If you think fundraising is about funding a cause, think again. It’s about empowering a donor to change the world. What does that mean? Check out It’s “Us” or “Them” at Karen Zapp’s Nonprofit Blog: The spotlight is shining on the donor. They are the hero of the appeal and all you do. This style…

  • The critics are raving about new fundraising book

    Here’s what some of the reviews are saying about The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: The Agitator: … order several copies — especially extras for your CEO, program folks and key board members. I guarantee it’ll soon have a dog-eared, underlined and well-worn place on your bookshelf, providing tested ammunition to counter all the copy-related…

  • Commercial-style branding does not work for charities

    Here’s piece I wrote last month for Civil Society, a publication that covers the charity sector in the UK: Commercial-style branding does not work for charities. Teaser: According to some, communication standards that hurt fundraising effectiveness but make people inside the organisation feel good are perfectly fine. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d say anything you…

  • 2 stupid nonprofit videos that fail to connect in their own different ways

    There are many flavors of stupidity among stupid nonprofit ads. Some are good at heart but get lost in stupidity at execution. Others are stupid all the way through. Here are one of each: stupid nonprofit ads that are radically different in the nature of their stupidity, but stupid nonetheless. First, we’ll examine this video…

  • 3 ways you could be like charity:water

    Yesterday we looked at reasons most nonprofits aren’t as “awesome” as charity:water. Here’s more about charity:water from the Duarte Blog, a presentation design blog: How charity:water is Changing the World. They point out three things they like about charity:water… The 100% model. 100% of public donations go directly to water projects. Relentless transparency. You are…

  • Steps to an awesome fundraising brand

    Maybe you’ve looked at the work of charity:water and felt that twinge of jealousy. Why can’t my organization be like that? There are some painfully realistic answers to that question at re:charity: 7 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit’s Brand Will Never Be As Awesome As charity:water. Your mission kind of sucks. You don’t care enough about…