Month: January 2022

  • Are direct mail lifts wasteful?

    Lift Monday: A series about the art and science of “Lifts” in direct mail fundraising. One of the complaints people in fundraising make about direct mail lifts is that they are “wasteful.” Many go as far as to say lifts will cause a piece to fail because donors will see it as wasteful and refuse…

  • Why fundraising writers should sweat the small stuff

    There was a discussion on Twitter about the word partner, used as a verb. As in, “Will you partner with us on this important project?” Lisa Sargent was advising against it. I think any real writer (like Lisa) has a flinch reaction to partner as a verb, because it’s abstract and jargony. But someone else…

  • Are we heading for a post-COVID fundraising slump?

    It’s a reasonable question: after two years of unprecedented fundraising success (assuming you’ve stayed in touch with donors), when will things stop being this way? When will the extraordinary pandemic response end, leaving us in the lurch? It’s not an unreasonable fear. After all, disaster donors are notoriously fickle. The large majority of donors who…

  • The shocking power of a fundraising brand proposition

    I admit it: “value proposition” is a jargon term. But it’s a useful one for fundraisers, so I’m using it here. Because, as this excellent post at NextAfter says, Nonprofits Have a Value Proposition Problem. The post defines a nonprofit value proposition as a the answer to a four-part question every potential donor has: “If…

  • The strange truth about address labels and other freemiums in fundraising

    Lift Monday: A series about the art and science of “Lifts” in direct mail fundraising. Probably the most common type of lift in direct mail fundraising is the humble and maligned freemium. You know, address labels and other inexpensive things such as notepads, bookplates, pens, coins, and greeting cards. I’m calling them “freemiums” to differentiate…

  • What happens if you listen to your donors TOO MUCH

    Maybe you’re listening to your donors too much. Surprised to hear me ask that? After all, fundraisers are in the business of supplying donors with what they want and need. The problem is, what they tell you they want is so often not at all what really motivates them to respond. Virtuous blog tells the…

  • Is your boss driven by strategy — or squirrels?

    The executive director got an email from an organization she supports. It contained a link to a thank-you video. It was polished but simple, and was even personalized to her. A nice piece of donor stewardship. The executive director, a helpful and energetic person, forwarded the email to her development director with a comment attached:…

  • 3 steps to avoid sounding completely fake

    A lot of fundraising writing uses a tone you’d never use with people you know and care about. If you did, they’d slap your face. Or call 911, seeking immediate help for you. Here’s the kind of writing nonsense I mean: Phony superlatives, like “leading,” “best,” “most important.” Meaningless, high-flown claims, like “cutting-edge” and “pioneering.”…

  • The enhanced magic of “bounce backs” in fundraising

    Lift Monday: A series about the art and science of “Lifts” in direct mail fundraising. My favorite type of direct mail lift is the kind you ask the donor to send back: bounce backs. Ideally, there’s some kind of logical reason you’ve sent them something and they send it back, usually to sign their name…

  • Top-10 most googled posts of the year

    What people are Googling is a sometimes-scary look into the soul of mankind. Here are 2021’s top 10 posts on this blog that people found via Google. Enjoy this not-at-all scary look into the soul of people curious about fundraising. It’s one word — science proves. (Posted: 29 December 2010) Is it “fund raising” or…