Month: March 2024

  • Good fundraising writing: It’s not about avoiding your peeves

    Years ago, I worked at a company where one of the best ways to get ahead was to talk. A lot. Being able to filibuster at a meeting or write staggeringly long emails marked you as a winner. The content of what you had to say wasn’t as important as word count. It was the…

  • 2 lousy stories and a great one

    Stories sometimes seem like magic. But there’s no magic involved. When you tell the right story, you unlock the generosity of more people. When you tell the wrong one, not much happens. So what stories are right or wrong? Here’s a great answer to that question from the Better Fundraising Blog, at Which story are…

  • Professional discourse: strategic exclusion that doesn’t belong in fundraising

    I recently got a new prescription for glasses. You’ve seen those. Basically a bunch of codes and numbers. In one of those weird, idle moments when you pay attention to something you wouldn’t normally look at (you do that too, right?) I tried to figure it out. I didn’t get far, but I did see…

  • Letter from a disgruntled donor [PODCAST]

    A donor writes a letter to the president of the organization. It’s an articulate critique of what the donor dislikes about their fundraising: It’s simplistic, repetitious, and emotional. What do you do? What do you say? We read an actual letter from a real donor and talk through the right — and wrong — response.…

  • When to delete and start again in fundraising

    From the great Culture for Hire, 3 foolproof tests for customer-centric arts marketing. It’s aimed at arts marketing, but with a few minor word changes, it becomes a guide for effective fundraising: Imagine your ideal [donor]. Would they ever say [insert your fundraising copy here]? No? Delete that copy and start again. Pretend you’re a…

  • The amazingly good news about inclusive fundraising

    When my now-adult kids were in school, they were good students who did pretty well. One day, notice came from the school that the kids with learning and attention issues — who had previously been in separate classes — would be joining the regular classrooms. The parents of the “regular” kids freaked out. They didn’t…

  • What fundraisers should give up for Lent

    Today is the beginning of Eastern Orthodox Lent, a seven-week period before Easter during which many practice abstention from various things and other spiritual exercises. Most faiths have similar practices. Funny thing about Lent is that whatever your spiritual goals, you also make discoveries about the things you abstain from. Things like: You don’t need…

  • 6 foundational errors that make fundraising ineffective

    Want to know what causes most ineffective fundraising? Here are six distressingly common causes, from the Veritus Group Blog at Why Most Fundraising Is Ineffective. You’ll notice none of them are about fundraising tactics. They’re about the big-picture strategy of fundraising. You may also notice that most of the items below contain the phrase “acquiring,…

  • How not to be an exclusionary nonprofit

    What would you think of a nonprofit that put its services at the top of a sleek, cool-looking spiral staircase? Or a charity that had a sign on their door that said “Masters Degree or higher ONLY”? Or one that required an eye test, and excluded anyone who failed it. Of course, you’d think anyone…

  • 7 ways to maximize DAF giving

    Donor Advised Funds are still growing. DAF donors may still be a small percentage of all your donors, but they are an important group with a high potential of supporting your work now and well into the future. Here are some great ways to handle these donors will, at How to Engage and Retain DAF…