Month: May 2019

  • How tell when someone’s fundraising advice is bad

    Anyone can tell you anything about your fundraising. How can you tell the bad advice from the good? Here’s what almost always gives away bad advice. It starts with a phraise like these: I don’t like it. I like it. I think… It makes me feel… If someone is using their own sense of how…

  • What it takes to write good fundraising

    What does it take to write good fundraising? It takes pretty much the same things as any other kind of writing, plus a working knowledge of fundraising and donors. That’s why I like this “writing manifesto” from Articulate Marketing: How we work: our writing manifesto. It’s not about fundraising, but it can help anyone be…

  • Fool-proof outline for a successful fundraising appeal

    There are a zillion ways to write a fundraising appeal, but here’s an outline, in the form of the word APPEALS that can get you there quick, from John Haydon’s blog: How to Write a Winning Fundraising Appeal. Note that this outline suggests that you ask 5 times. That’s right. Repetition improves results! Attention. This…

  • 99% failure in direct mail fundraising?

    When I first realized that being a fundraiser meant doing a lot more than writing fundraising copy, I started paying close attention to response data. One day, I thought I’d uncovered a major oversight in the way we looked at direct-mail response rates. As you know, with new donor direct-mail acquisition efforts, you’re lucky if…

  • 5 common irrelevant fundraising topics — and what to say instead

    Here are some common topics in a lot of fundraising that are irrelevant to donors: The huge size or massive “importance” of the cause. Your donors don’t give because a problem is big or a cause is important. They give to make a difference. Make your fundraising about that difference. The geopolitical and/or historical context…

  • How to make your fundraising unrestricted

    A lot of fundraisers feel caught in a trap: We are required to raise unrestricted (or undesignated) funds most or all of the time. The money that keeps everything going, including the stuff donors just aren’t into, like staff salaries, the electricity bill, and the cost of fundraising itself. But fundraising that works is almost…

  • 3 ways to connect with older donors

    There’s a reason the average age of donors is so old. And it’s not because fundraising is too corny for younger people It’s because of the way older people are. They are different. Their lives and the way they think and behave are different. (Don’t worry, you’ll be like them eventually!) This should be behind…

  • The easy secret to a great nonprofit elevator pitch

    Have you been struggling to make an absolutely amazing “elevator pitch” for your organization? You might be going to the wrong floor. Maybe your pitch should be boring, according to this post at the Big Duck Blog, The case for a boring elevator pitch. I’ve heard a lot of nonprofit elevator pitches, and some of…

  • Why they donate to Notre Dame and not your cause

    Since the terrible fire in Paris and the outpouring of philanthropy to restore Notre Dame, you’ve probably seen the complaints: Why are people donating so much to Notre Dame? [Our cause] is much [bigger/more important/ more deserving/more local/etc.]! The short answer: Charitable giving is not a calculated, rational act. It flows from the heart. And…