Month: July 2019

  • How brand guidelines stop effective fundraising

    Does your organization have a brand guidelines document? I mean a document that guides the way you express your brand. Sounds like a good thing … it should be useful and handy. And sometimes they are. But in my experience, it’s more common for brand guidelines to restrict or even outlaw effective fundraising. Here are…

  • How to encourage donors to trust you

    People don’t trust you. It’s not just you, but pretty much all institutions. People are widely cynical and distrusting of all of them. (And who can blame them?) But trust is one of the most necessary elements of fundraising. So overcoming that pervasive distrust is critical. From Fired-Up Fundraising, here are 5 Ways to Overcome…

  • Are you confusing would-be donors?

    I hate to say it, but there’s a chance you are. Because a sizeable portion of all nonprofits have utterly confusing ways to describing what they do. They aren’t trying to be that way. Most of the people in the organization probably think their self-descriptions are crystal clear and admirably motivating. Here’s a helpful exercise…

  • Batman vs. Yoda — which is your fundraising hero?

    You and your donor together are a world-changing duo of heroes. But what pair-of-superheroes model are you following? Are you the following the Batman Model? Batman is the Boss. Robin is the helper, the sidekick. All is well as long as Robin does what Batman tells him what to do. Batman gets all the glory.…

  • Fundraising photography: how to escape the curse of knowledge

    Photos are important in fundraising. They can make (or break) any message. It’s worth spending a little time making sure you get them right. Here’s an example. Take a good look at this photo. Ask yourself what expression this child is making. What does he think or feel about whatever he’s looking at? If he…

  • How much fundraising mail is too much?

    How much mail is too much? A lot of fundraisers are very focused on this question. There’s a widespread belief that at some point, frequency of mail will cause an exodus of donors. Thing is, I’ve never seen anything like that happen. In fact, there’s a strong correlation between increased frequency and improved donor retention.…

  • Study says don’t bother with donor thank-you calls

    Yikes! Calling donors to thank them has no impact on subsequent giving? That’s what a recent very large study found (abstract here), as reported by Change Fundraising at Thank You Calls Are Pointless. Wait … What? Seriously, that’s what the study found. It involved hundreds of thousands of calls. Does this tell us that thanking…

  • How scarcity focuses your donors on your fundraising

    A few years ago, there was a cheese shortage. I’m still scarred by it. Specifically, it was a shortage of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar cheese. If you don’t live on the US West Coast, you may not be aware of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. If that’s the case, I pity you. But during the Great Cheese Shortage,…

  • Watch out for the false disrupters in fundraising

    The CD arrived on my front porch and I eagerly tore open the packaging. (Yes, I still listen to music on CDs, at least sometimes!) It was a new album I was excited to hear (more on that in a bit). I pushed it into the CD player and sat back to enjoy it while…

  • Your donor is a hero — and what that means to for your fundraising

    Virtually every myth you’ve ever heard, and most of the books you’ve read and movies you’ve seen have pretty much the same plot. Joseph Campbell, an American scholar, “discovered” this in the middle of the last century. He called it the “monomyth” or the Hero’s Journey. Every hero goes through the same basic pattern on…