Month: January 2017

  • Learn the secret to real donor love

    What exactly is “donor love”? For some, it’s just an attitude. For others, it means doing fundraising you like on the mistaken assumption that donors are carbon copies of you. If you’re serious about fundraising, donor love is a series of actions and approaches to fundraising, as outlined by Agents of Good, at Donor Love:…

  • One of the top nonprofit books of the year

    How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser’s Guide to Persuasive Writing has been recognized with a CausePlanet Choice Award 2016. It’s one of several books I’m honored to be included among, chosen for “originality, insight, inspiration and applicability.” Brooks explains what fundraising writing is not and what it should be. He does…

  • How not to sound like an idiot

    There’s a pretty good chance you sound like a complete idiot. Not you personally (I hope), but your organization’s public communications. Most advertising, direct marketing — and fundraising — uses a tone you’d never use with your friends. If you did, they’d laugh in your face. Or run away. Really. Think of the junk that’s…

  • The amazing power of crazy envelopes in direct mail fundraising

    Direct mail fundraisers struggle and sweat over the letter, working to make it persuasive and motivating. In many conversations about direct mail fundraising, it is as if the letter is the only thing that really matters. A have a slightly disturbing secret to tell you. The letter is only marginally important to success in direct…

  • Two ways to turn your lousy first draft into fundraising that sings

    The most important admission any writer can ever make is this: My first draft always, always, always sucks. It’s not just you. It’s me. And every other writer in the human race, from the worst writer of all time to the best. The difference between a good writer and a bad one is the good…

  • How to raise a lot more money by thinking small

    You probably remember the photo of the body of a little Syrian boy, washed up on a Turkish beach in September 2015. It’s a hard photo to look at; he looks like he’s sleeping, in that sprawling, completely relaxed way that toddlers sleep. But he’s not asleep. This photo galvanized (sort of) humanitarian response to…

  • How the worst Star Wars ever is like weak fundraising

    So you pay for your parking, tickets, and popcorn to see the latest Star Wars movie. You settle in, the music starts blaring and the standard “crawl” floats across the giant screen. And this is what it says (don’t worry, it’s less than a minute, and there’s no sound): (Or see it here on YouTube.)…

  • How to raise more money by making everyone hate your fundraising

    This is one of the most difficult fundamental laws of fundraising, captured in Brooks’ Fourth Law of Fundraising Animosity There is a direct correlation between the power and effectiveness of fundraising writing and the number of people who hate it. A Simplification to this troubling law is this: The better your work, the more complaints…

  • How to improve your fundraising email year this year

    A lot of what makes email fundraising ineffective is common practices we shouldn’t be doing. The Constant Contact blog has some ideas for things to stop doing, at 7 Email Marketing Practices to Leave Behind in the New Year: Stop wingin’ it. (Have a plan for a full year. And follow it.) Quit sending inconsistently.…

  • Most of the reasons your donors leave are your own fault

    Why do donors go away? Here’s some research at Know Your Own Bone: Why donors stop giving to cultural organizations: data. The finding includes the top reasons donors stop giving: Not acknowledged/thanked for previous gift: 244 Not asked to donate again: 199 Lack of communication about use of funds/result of gift: 174 “Forgot”: 138 Gave…