Month: April 2013

  • 2012: not the worst year ever for fundraising

    Well, 2012 wasn’t too terrible a year. That’s according to the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report for 2012 (PDF, registration required). Giving last year was up 1.7% over 2011. That small growth was not evenly distributed: Large organizations grew by 0.3% Medium organizations grew 2.7% Small organizations grew 7.3% Giving was also uneven by charity sector:…

  • Fundraising Hell, Level 9: The Treacherous

    If Dante had been a fundraiser, his Inferno might have been slightly different, featuring the sins fundraisers are prone to commit. I have corrected Dante’s oversight. This is part nine of a nine-part tour of the levels of Fundraising Hell. We’ve finally reached the deepest pit of Fundraising Hell. A place so vile, degraded, and…

  • How to write headlines that will make people read everything you write

    Here’s what you need to know about writing good headlines, form the Constant Contact blog, at Headline Writing: Three Core Factors That Trigger Curiosity. Every headline you write should answer one or more of these questions readers might have: Is this for me? Is it something I know or don’t know? Would I get any…

  • Are you writing bad fundraising copy?

    Here’s a scary post from Copyblogger: 7 Ways to Write Damn Bad Copy. I’ve seen all of these. Done quite a few myself: Lyrical (excessively poetic) Sentimental (falsely emotional — but real emotion works) Outlandish (packed with poorly supported superlative claims) Humorous (you aren’t as funny as you think, and unfunny humor is the deadest…

  • When your common sense leads you astray

    I read a blog post a while back that was written by a young blogger, apparently new to fundraising but already pontificating on what we should and shouldn’t be doing in our fundraising messages. Some of the points the blogger made were on target about how fundraising copy ought to be but often isn’t. But…

  • How not to use video in fundraising

    Video is a great way to tell stories. And it’s easy to get it in front of people. What’s not to be excited about? Sometimes getting excited about it is what causes a problem. The fact that it’s really cool is not a reason to use it, and not a platform for making video. The…

  • Fundraising Hell, Level 8: The Fraudulent

    If Dante had been a fundraiser, his Inferno might have been slightly different, featuring the sins fundraisers are prone to commit. I have corrected Dante’s oversight. This is part eight of a nine-part tour of the levels of Fundraising Hell. You thought Fundraising Hell couldn’t get any worse after seeing what’s happening to the Brand…

  • Design that doesn’t interfere with fundraising

    One of the most common self-inflicted injuries in fundraising is hard-to-read design. No matter how cool your design is, if it impedes readability, it is bad design. Here’s some design help from the Hilborn blog, drawing on readability guidelines from The Canadian Association of Optometrists: Make your materials clear for older donors. Please don’t think…

  • Several things that make great development directors

    Development directors have complicated jobs. But knowing and believing just a few things can make them many times more effective. Here are some of those things, from the Better Fundraising for All blog, at The 5 Things Every Great Development Director Knows: Your donor list is your most important asset. Segment your list into giving…

  • Better fundraising copy

    From Hands-on Fundraising, 8 things you can do today to improve your fundraising letters: Change the font (to something more readable, and probably larger). Indent the paragraphs. Underline. Send it back to 6th grade (short sentences and short words make it easier to read). Make sure you use the word “you” often. Write like you…