Month: January 2024

  • How girls got hijacked by brand experts — and how you can bring them back

    A few years ago, two interesting facts rose to the tops of a number of fundraisers — minds: In the developing world, a key factor that keeps communities from developing is the oppression of women. Empowering and educating women and girls can transform communities. Most donors are women, and they are increasingly Baby Boomers who…

  • 9 ways to keep more of your first-time donors

    You’ve seen the disturbing numbers: Fewer than on out of five first-time donors ever gives again. You don’t have to see dismal retention numbers like that. You can meaningfully improve the number of your new donors that stick with you. Here are some great tips from the Bloomerang Blog, at What Are Top Tips To…

  • 5 Reasons Donors Leave [PODCAST]

    Donor retention is down across the fundraising industry. Here are five of the most common causes of donor attrition — and what you can do to overcome them: Poor receipting Not enough communication Not enough reporting back Online and offline communications out of sync Acquisition and cultivation out of sync The good news: You can…

  • Why is clear writing so hard?

    I just read an article in an academic journal that was about a topic I care about: clear communication. This matters to fundraisers because when you write in a clear and easy-to-understand way, you raise more money. It’s very clear. The article I’m talking about isn’t about fundraising, but it made an even wider and…

  • Fundraising is not “asking”

    Some fundraisers are uncomfortable asking for money. I get it. Asking can feel awkward. Like a hustle at best. Or at worst, like a scam. But there’s a better way to think about asking, as Seth Godin points out at The generous ask: … the best asks are actually offers. When we offer to help…

  • Jerry Cianciolo: the secret hero behind the secret heroes

    Most likely, you’ve never heard of him. And that’s exactly how he wanted it. Jerry Cianciolo passed recently after a short battle with cancer. He was co-founder, along with his wife Kathleen Brennan, of Emerson and Church Publishers. For decades, they were the leading publisher of books about fundraising. You have likely read at least…

  • Things no fundraiser will ever say on their deathbed

    “I wish we’d rebranded more often.” “I should have spent more time fundraising from young people.” “Why didn’t I spend more time trying to get Oprah to donate?” “I really wish I’d scolded my donors more often about their shortcomings.” “I didn’t do enough galas, luncheons, and auctions.” “How sad that I didn’t jump on…

  • Why your writer’s voice might be crushing your fundraising

    I have some news for nonprofit executive directors (or anyone else who signs fundraising messages) that you may take as very good … or very bad. Your “voice” does almost nothing to help your fundraising. In fact, your “voice” — if you insist on close fidelity to it — is probably costing your organization a…

  • Want to raise more money? Simplify!

    Why do scientists and medical professionals write the way they do? Grammatically complex, high-end vocabulary writing that can be such a struggle to read. This is often a problem in fundraising, because hard-to-read writing measurably hurts response. That’s right — it costs you money to communicate with donors the way scientists communicate with each other.…

  • 5 powerful writing tips from Narnia

    Here are some great writing tips from a great writer: C. S. Lewis. With my commentary on how the tips can apply in fundraising writing. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else. Two ways to avoid this mistake:…