Month: January 2021

  • Quick-fix fundraising: it’s how you do the job

    Our donors just don’t make the grade. We really need to increase their sophistication about our work. We’ve got to stop coddling them with simple and easy-to-grasp fundraising offers. That seems to be the message of How can you save a child for £1 a day? at The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network, a UK blog…

  • Two ways to super-charge your fundraising

    The best way to do better is to offer something better. That’s as true in fundraising as everywhere else, but to show you what I mean, let me show you something from the world that it better. Maybe you know about the line of blank notebooks called Moleskine. The small one I use costs around…

  • How to fix your worst writing mistakes

    What’s wrong with this (real, unfortunately) fundraising sentence? We pray that this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well as we all face the challenge of living in a changed world due to the pandemic. Nothing at all wrong with the sentiments it expresses. And I could nitpick it a little, noting…

  • Is your fundraising all out of love?

    Too many fundraisers edit “love” out of their messaging. I guess it just don’t seem “professional.” If you’re doing that in fundraising copy, you’re missing the entire point of asking and giving. Fundraising is all about love. If it isn’t, you might as well be banging away at a gong for all the good you’re…

  • How to practice best practices the best way

    Every once in a while, a fundraising blogger or columnist will go on a rant against best practices. The gist: Best practices suck because they keep you from innovating. I almost agree. But when best practices keep you from innovating, it’s probably because the things you’re calling “best practices” are actually comfortable practices or maybe…

  • When fundraising design becomes evil

    I just got a newsletter that takes poor design to a whole new level — beyond hard-to-read, beyond inappropriate, beyond awkward. It’s evil. Yeah, that’s quite a charge to lay on a newsletter. But I think you’ll agree with me. I can’t show it to you. I don’t want to embarrass anyone. But even if…

  • Improve your fundraising by improving the story you tell yourself

    We all live in stories that we’re telling ourselves, constantly interpreting what happens around us. You’ve probably noticed that some people tell better stories than others. They see themselves as having purpose, direction, and agency. They’re good at grabbing opportunities. They recover from adversity. They assume others are allies and friends unless proven otherwise. Organizations…

  • Fundraiser: Don’t “be yourself” — be your donor

    Every so often, I’ll read a blog post titled something like “9 ways to write better fundraising.” I love pieces like that, because I’m fascinated by what people consider “short-list” critical elements for success. And as often as not, I learn something from those lists. The thing that dismays me is how often one of…

  • How nonprofit entitlement mentality destroys organizations

    I answered my phone. It was a complete stranger. Turned out he was the executive director of a nonprofit I’d never heard of. But he’d heard of me, and thought I’d be a great fit for an exciting new project he was working on. He was friendly and energetic. It took a long time —…

  • Fundraising is about love, and that changes everything

    What’s wrong with asking donors to give? To hear some people in our industry, there’s plenty wrong with it. If you are struggling with the idea of asking, it’s might be time to rethink your career choice. Fundraising is beautiful … because giving is beautiful. When you embrace this truth, you are on a path…