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Jeff Brooks
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Here's an excerpt from a story in a fundraising message: The puppy shivered in the winter cold. In his short life, he's never eaten anything but garbage, and nobody had ever said a kind word to him. Until we came a long, picked him up, wrapped him in a blanket, and took him to our shelter for nutritious food, medical care, and good old TLC. Not bad. But really, who cares? In the real life of the donor who might encounter this story in a piece of direct mail or email, it's just a random story that has nothing to... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Future Fundraising Now
Quick note for smart Future Fundraising Now readers! There's still time to register for my 4-part Moceanic masterclass called Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits. And there's still time to get the exclusive $100 off by using the checkout code FFN100. This offer -- to readers of this blog only -- is good until the end of November 18. It's a 4-part masterclass that you can take at your own time and at your own pace -- and there's ton of practical material that will help you raise a lot more money! And there's a money-back guarantee. If you are anything... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
You've probably heard that if you ask a donor for a gift within an acknowledgement, the seas will boil, the moon will turn red, and the donor will leave you forever, telling everyone she knows what a mean-spirited schmuck you are. Reality is not quite that. In fact, a gift acknowledgement is a really excellent place to ask -- if you do it right. It's important to remember two related things about donors: Statistically, the time a donor is most likely to give is soon after they've given. Giving feels good. There's a population of donors who do all their... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
The real job in fundraising is getting the second gift from a new donor. That's when the relationship starts. That's why this post from John Haydon, 3 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression with First-Time Donors, is especially important: Express heartfelt and sincere thanks. This alone will set you apart. Forget what you may have heard from surveys: Donors want to be thanked, and they will reward you for it with loyalty. Reinforce the impact THEY made. Don't brag about what you're going to do with their gift. Tell them what they are making possible. Differentiate your org by going... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Future Fundraising Now
Congratulations! Your fundraising campaign is finished, the results are in, and it went great! Now what? Here are some great thoughts from the Achieve Blog: 5 Things Not to Do After a Fundraising Campaign. Don't do these things: Don't forget to say thank you. Failing to thank those who gave is a fundamental error that can make even a successful fundraising program crash and burn! Don't think donors know what you do with their money. Tell them. Beyond being thanked donors also need to know what their giving accomplished. Don't keep results a secret internally. Celebrate with your team. Everyone... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
The most deadly (and common) error in fundraising: Assuming your donors don't like to hear from you -- and that too much contact (whatever that means) will drive away donors, causing your donor file to erode and eventually collapse. There's no evidence that it's true. In fact, the evidence shows us that decreasing donor contact almost always leads to not only less revenue but worse donor retention. In other words, you're a lot more likely to drive away donors by not communicating enough than you are by over-communicating. Of course, there are donors who are annoyed by hearing from you,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Here's a fairly disturbing picture of The State of Donor Retention in One Image from Bloomerang. If your average donor retention is just 46%, your program is in trouble. You simply aren't keeping enough of your donors. Chances are your file is static or even shrinking. Fortunately, this chart also shows how you can escape the morass. Repeat donors retain at 60% -- that is, donors who give two or more times per year zoom up to this high retention rate. Hence, the key job in fundraising is to get the second gift. And I bet that 90% figure for... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
The first place for improving your email fundraising results is to improve your subject lines. Here are some great tips from Hubspot marketing, at How to Write Catchy Email Subject Lines: 17 Tips: Keep it short and sweet. Aim for under 50 characters. Use a familiar sender name. Use personalization. Yes, put the recipient's name in the subject line. Segment your lists. Be as relevant as possible to everyone. Don't make false promises Do tell them what's inside. Time it right. Use concise language. Start with action-oriented verbs. Make people feel special. use phrases like " private invitation." Create a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
by guest blogger George Crankovic. He blogs at The Clued-in Copywriter. Is your nonprofit one of the "good" ones? Of course it is! And that's how we fall into the "nonprofit mindset." We know that our nonprofit is honest, doing good work, and focused intensely on the mission. There's no question about it. We know that the people working at our nonprofit do it because they want to make a difference … in it for the psychic rewards, not to become captains of industry and masters of the universe. Our motives are laudable. We know all this to be true.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
You can still register for my 4-part Moceanic masterclass called Irresisitible Communications for Great Nonprofits. It starts on November 6 -- and you can take the course on your own time, at your own pace. If you register by November 3, you can get $100 off by using the checkout code FFN100. Last chance at this low price! More information and registration is here for this powerful 4-part masterclass. Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
I recently heard about some research on professional fundraisers where they were asked what was important to them about their fundraising. The results: 75% wanted to feel good about their fundraising 25% wanted have more effective fundraising So that's what's wrong with our profession! A large majority of us would rather feel good about their work than actual be good? To be fair, I'll guess many (maybe even most) of the "feel good" group don't see feeling good and being good as separate or opposing things. But they are. The more you "feel good" about your fundraising, the less effective... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
We are running out of time, but you can still register for my 4-part masterclass on nonprofit communications. It starts on November 6 -- and you can take the course on your own time, at your own pace. Here are the titles of the four sections: A Step-by-Step Guide for Everyone Who Wants to Get It Right What All Fundraising Is Always About: ACTION How to Tell the RIGHT Story to Motivate Your Donors Deadly Myths in Fundraising, and the Friendly Facts that Actually Matter If you register by November 3, you can get $100 off by using the checkout... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Is it unethical to use knowledge of human psychology to be more effective at influencing their behavior? Is it a type of trickery or manipulation? In theory, we could cross the line to manipulation. And we shouldn't. But "using emotion" isn't mind control. It's merely encouraging people to do what they intend to do anyway. But here's another reason you should feel free to fully use our understanding of the way the brain, the eyes, the limbic system -- all the things that make humans human. We are integrated systems. There's not a rational side that's separate from the emotional,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
What's this? It's one of the secrets I'll reveal in my 4-part Moceanic masterclass, Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits. It starts next week! (Glory and esteem if you can explain what the point of this in the comments!) Register now for this powerful 4-part webinar. It starts on November 6 -- and you can take the course on your own time, at your own pace. And if you register by November 3, you can get $100 off by using the checkout code FFN100. Don't miss it! More information and registration is here for this powerful 4-part masterclass. It's not only... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Register now for this powerful 4-part webinar. It starts on November 6 -- and you can take the course on your own time, at your own pace. When I landed my first fundraising job at a small nonprofit 30 years ago I thought I was the bee's knees. I was regarded as a gifted writer in college and after college went into teaching English. I taught the rules of grammar and composition to thousands of students. I struggled and sweated to make them understand and value good academic writing. Then I became a fundraiser. I couldn't wait to apply my... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
The Season is upon us! That last few weeks of the year when a huge portion of our donations come in. It starts some time in November and comes to a sudden end on January 1. The interesting thing about this year-end push is that the fundraising is different from the rest of the year. In a way, it's easier. As the Better Fundraising blog puts it, year-end fundraising should Remind, Don't Persuade: The job of your fundraising from mid-November on is to remind your donor to send in a gift, not to persuade them. Just Ask. Ask Boldly. Ask... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Like The Agitator, I also said Yikes when I say this article in the New York Times: To Sell Themselves to Donors, Nonprofits Are Turning to the Pros. It's that same old story: benighted, ignorant fundraisers (the non-pros) are rescued by the pros from commercial marketing. Then the story makes it clear what kind of advice the pros have for us: ...nonprofits [should] more clearly explain their purpose in simple but powerful ways that connect emotionally with the public. Use storytelling ability — along with the sophisticated use of data to identify donors and maintain a digital connection with them.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
What's this? It's an outline for a fundraising message. Probably direct mail, possibly email. It's one of the secrets I'll reveal in tomorrow's free Moceanic webinar, Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits. Your chance to register will soon be gone! Register now! (It's free!) If the times don't work for you, register anyway! You'll get access to the recording. I hope to see you at the webinar! Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Thanks to Conversation Agent . That's a beautiful way of thinking how you get people to do something important. It applies to fundraising too. Yet how much fundraising is a labored tutorial on the organization's excellent methods, unique qualifications, and dynamic staff? How much is brand-driven, braggy, and "educational"? If you want donors to give, you need to show them a beautiful vision of how the world will be with their giving -- how their values will shape things and help create the world they want to live in. Inspire them. Don't just instruct them. Show your donors a vision.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
You don't have to read this blog for long to know that a lot of what your bosses believe about fundraising is flat-out wrong. And that's why I hope you can make it to this week's free webinar. Sign up here. You've probably heard thing comments like these: "People won’t read that letter, it's too long." "You can’t write that way, its ungrammatical." "You can’t ask for money like that, you will frighten the donors away." And I’m going to show you the proven techniques that will put your donors at the center -- "donor love," it's often called. Most... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
The use of freemiums in direct mail fundraising -- low-cost items sent to grab donors' attention -- can be a useful tactic. For some organizations, and in some fundraising sectors, it's a price of admission to the fundraising game. Address labels, notepads, and other low-cost useful items can make the difference between an unsustainable fundraising program and one that works. But there's a danger of sliding down a slippery slope: needing to send increasingly stand-out (and costly) items: nail clippers, gloves, blankets, calculators ... it goes on and on. In the direct mail view of the world, these things are... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
Take note of this: A picture is worth a thousand words. So choose your pictures carefully! We take a look at the ways photos can emotional depth and measurable pull-power to your fundraising ... or undermine your message entirely! A good fundraiser knows when to use "negative" images and when to use the positive ones we prefer. Find out in this episode the rhythm and balance of images that motivate donors to give. And to keep giving. To listen, click here to download the audio file or visit the Fundraising Is Beautiful page here, where you'll find several listening and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
The early part of my fundraising career was rough. Like most of us at that stage, I didn't have a clue. And I didn't really want to have a clue. Have you seen the movie "A Clockwork Orange"? That terrible scene toward the end where the Malcolm McDowell character was given an extreme form of aversion therapy by having his eyelids clipped open, forcing him to watch films of violent and cruel acts? My early career was kind of like that. I made terrible fundraising mistakes. Then watched the results, unable to turn away. It was all there right in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
It takes a lot of money to be a big Nonprofit. It takes much, much less to be a good one. And while there are down-sides to being big, there are none to being good. Here's superb post from the Institute of Fundraising on Choosing to be great instead of big. It's really just a matter of consistently following a few donor-centered fundraising practices: Thanking promptly and properly Showing progress and impact Getting to know their supporters and responding to their needs Empowering supporters Asking consistently Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now
When natural disasters hit, fundraising skyrockets. That's a good thing, but it also creates a problem: It makes many fundraisers stupid. Because it leads them to believe that the everyday grind of normal fundraising is way too much work for far too little reward. Disaster fundraising is nothing like normal fundraising. It's a matter of speed, simplicity, and just being there. Media coverage takes care of the rest, and people give like crazy. During a disaster, you can raise funds through media that don't normally work, like spot radio and newspaper print ads. You can even raise funds on Twitter... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2017 at Future Fundraising Now